A real heavyweight title bout is shaping up in the Indiana senate race as Howey Politics is reporting that former Senator Dan Coates will announce today that he is challenging the incumbent Senator Evan Bayh:
The source, former aide Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, said that Coats knows he has about two weeks to gather the 4,500 signatures - 500 per Congressional district - in two weeks.
Coats was up for re-election in 1998 when he decided to retire, citing the pressures of constant fundraising. Bayh went on that year to defeat former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke to reclaim his father's Senate seat.
Coats was almost named President George W. Bush's Defense Secretary instead of Donald Rumsfeld, and later was named ambassador to Germany.
Coats would join the Republican field that includes State Sen. Marlin Stutzman, plumber Richard Behney, former Congressman John Hostettler and Winchester financier Don. Bates Jr,
Coats entered Congress by winning Dan Quayle's House seat in 1980, then was appointed by Gov. Robert D. Orr to fill Quayle's Senate seat when he ascended to the vice presidency n 1989.
Coates is a proven statewide vote getter running in a state that has soured on Obama considerably. At least three House races in Indiana are looking good for GOP pickups and unlike some other states, the Republicans are enjoying a revival thanks to the very popular incumbent Governor Mitch Daniels (an 18 point win in the very Democratic year of 2008). Daniels should be able to help Coates in November.
Most pollsters currently have this race a "lean Democratic" contest.Watch for the politicos to change this race to "toss-up" today if Coates announces.