Former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh says the growing partisan divide in Indiana is the reason for his decision not to make another bid for the governor’s mansion in 2016.
Friday’s announcement comes after months of questions about the former two-term governor’s political future. Bayh’s continued popularity in the state Democratic Party, combined with a still-robust campaign war chest, has been fueling speculation about a run for governor in two years.
But Bayh says while he has big ideas for the state, he has to consider his ability to get those ideas implemented, given the state’s political realities.
“And just for me, not for somebody else, I concluded that it would be fairly difficult under the current political climate and with the current legislature that we have,” Bayh said. “And it’s likely to be the case at least for the foreseeable future.”
Bayh says he will remain active in public service, which includes helping Democrats run for office. That includes a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
“Susan and I would want to help her in any way we possibly could, both here in Indiana and elsewhere,” Bayh said. “I think that would be one way to make a contribution because Lord knows Washington’s got a lot of problems and we need leaders there who can address those problems.”
Bayh was thought by many to be the vice presidential choice if Clinton had won the nomination in 2008. He wouldn’t comment on whether he wants that job if she runs again, only saying he’ll do whatever he’s asked.
He also says he isn’t thinking about running for any other office, but acknowledges he can’t predict the future.