Evan Bayh is running against Republican Rep. Todd Young for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat, a position Bayh has held before. Bayh, a Democrat, is one of two men elected by Indianans to the Senate since 1989.
In the 2016 cycle, however, the seat Bayh used to hold is an open one: Sen. Dan Coats, who Bayh succeeded in 1999, is retiring. The race between Bayh and Young is one of the most watched in the country, but polls show Bayh and Young are in a virtual tie headed into the final weeks before Election Day.
Besides the back-and-forth in federal office, Bayh also served as Indiana’s secretary of state and later, its governor. The 2016 campaign has put Bayh’s residency into question — a concern voters had in the mid-1980s — because of the amount of time he spending in the nation’s capital. Bayh joined McGuire Woods Consulting — a law firm with a large lobbying arm — after his time in the Senate
Here’s what you need to know about Bayh:
1. There Are Ongoing Questions About Bayh’s Residency
Young, Bayh’s opponent, and media outlets have raised questions about the Democrat’s residency. While it isn’t illegal to have homes in both Washington, D.C. and Indiana, Bayh is being painted as a candidate who’s disconnected from life in Indiana.
CNN first reported Bayh is an “inactive voter” on Indiana voter rolls, not casting a ballot since he left office. Postcards sent to Bayh’s Indianapolis condo were returned undelivered to officials.
“He doesn’t live here at all,” a Young spokesman, Jay Kenworthy, told WISH TV. “He uses his D.C. address on political contributions to Hillary Clinton, for his fishing license. He moved his foundation out to D.C.”
“Evan Bayh may dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,” he said, “but when he wakes up he sees the sun shining on the Potomac.”
Bayh, of course, denies any wrongdoing.
“I voted in every primary and every general election for the last 25 to 30 years,” Bayh told WISH TV in a follow-up interview. “So I am an active voter in Indiana.”
Pressed about the issue by WISH TV, Bayh got his address wrong, the Independent Journal Review reported.
The Associated Press reports Bayh didn’t stay overnight at his Indianapolis condo once during 2010, the last year he was in the U.S. Senate. Bayh has said he spent “lots and lots” of time there mulling his latest run for his old seat, according to the AP.
It isn’t the first time Bayh has faced criticism over his residency. In 1986, as a candidate for Indiana Secretary of State, the debate centered around whether or not Bayh had met the five-year residency quota for running for state office, the Indianapolis Star reported.
2. Born Birch Evans Bayh III, the Democrat Is the Son of Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh
The 60-year-old Bayh was born to mother Marvella and Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh, who was called “The Father of Title IX” for his legislation which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex for students and athletes. The elder Bayh represented Indiana for nearly two decades before losing his seat to Dan Quayle in 1980.
The junior Bayh attended a prep school in Washington, D.C., before going to business school in Indiana.
The Bayh family had close connections with the Kennedys and even President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife. Sen. Ted Kennedy, the elder Bayh and his wife Marvella were in a plane crash in 1964 that killed two people.
Birch Bayh also was an author of both the 25th and 26th Constitutional amendments: The 25th outlines the succession of the president after his or her death or removal from office; the 26th changed the legal voting age from 21 to 18.
3. More Than $15 Million Has Been Spent in Indiana’s Senate Race
So far, more than $15 million has been spent on the race in Indiana — a battleground Senate seat currently leaning in Bayh’s favor. According to federal campaign filings, that amount is pretty average, with some less-competitive seats going for a couple hundred thousand — but more competitive seats, like the battle for neighboring Ohio and Pennsylvania seeing $54 million and $74 million, respectively.
Even though Bayh once was leading Young in polls by a wide margin, his lead has shrunk in the weeks before Nov. 8. Because of the closing lead, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is driving additional campaign spending to Indiana, according to Politico.
A poll, conducted by WTHR 13 and HPI at the beginning of September, showed Bayh Up about four points. That poll showed 11 percent of Republicans intend to support Bayh. Now, they’re in a dead heat as Election Day is only a month out, an updated poll shows.
While the candidates’ next financial filings aren’t due until Oct. 15, outside spending groups — like Americans For Prosperity and the National Rifle Association — have been targeting Bayh in both mailers and in television ads.
End Citizens United, a political action committee (PAC), endorsed Bayh, who said he’s determined to get “take on these special interests.”
4. Bayh Is Married & Has Twin Sons Who Are Attending Harvard
Bayh married Susan Breshears Bayh and the couple has twin sons. Susan Bayh studied at UC-Berkeley and received her law degree from University of Southern California’s law school, according to bios. Susan Bayh has sat on corporate boards and even served as director for Anthem Insurance Companies Inc. from 1998 to May 2003.
Susan Bayh told WTHR 13 about a brain tumor she had, and how it made her reflect on her life.
“It made me really realize, both of us I think, that life is short and we’re put on this earth to do things and perhaps maybe do some important things for the country, too,” she said.
The couple’s twin sons — Beau and Nick — were born in 1995, and in 2014, left Indiana for Boston to attend Harvard University. According to WTHR, the Bayhs having children while in office was the first for a sitting Indiana governor since 1830. It was also the first time a governor had twins, WTHR reports.
5. Bayh’s Senate Campaign Is Focused on the Economy, Social Programs & Foreign Policy
The 2016 campaign across the country has been shaped by the economy and foreign policy, like concerns with ISIS and Russia. It’s no different in Indiana’s Senate race.
Bayh said he opposes the Obama administration’s Trans Pacific Partnership, claiming he’s hoping to “protect good-paying Hoosier jobs from being outsourced overseas.”
The campaign said Bayh is supportive of Medicare and Social Security programs, a “commitment America has made to its seniors.” Republican groups are quick to point out Bayh voted to raise taxes on Social Security. Democrat groups attack Bayh’s opponent, Young, for his comments calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”
In the case of ISIS, Bayh’s campaign claims, “As Indiana’s Senator, Evan Bayh will make obliterating ISIS and eliminating the root causes of terrorism a top priority. Evan will fight for intensifying the airstrike campaign against ISIS, promoting global partnership in the war against terror, and expanding the network of our intelligence community.”
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