Senate 2016: Who’s In?


March 24, 2015 2:08 PM

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It’s already down to three and you didn’t know it. Senator Dan Coats announced today he would not seek reelection, opening the door to a new generation of Republican leadership. A long expected decision, a handful of leaders have had their eyes on this race for some time.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Indiana GOP Chairman Tim Berry and Rep. Todd Young – one of these fine fellows will be filling Coats’ shoes.

Yes, one will be Senator. A state certain to go red in 2016, the only man with the political capital to buck that tide is democrat Evan Bayh. Now let’s be honest, Evan Bayh has no reason to seek the seat again. Essentially a top-notch lobbyist making more in one year than in his entire tenure, it would be like skipping the bank to rob the lemonade stand.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman falls best in line with the brand of conservatism top Indiana Republicans like Governor Pence and Coats carry with them. Adhering to a type of technocratic conservatism each choose their battles wisely but are also willing to stand up to the more establishment-type Washington elites. Finishing in a close second to Coats when he sought the seat in 2010, Stutzman brings a sense of political experience to the race. That said, likely underfunded and lacking a sufficient ground game, 2016 would be an uphill battle for Stutzman. His hero status with the Indiana grassroots could be a big boost in what is bound to be a tight primary battle.

Indiana GOP Chairman Tim Berry recently announced his resignation, leading to a slew of rumors about his future: Governor if Pence runs for President, campaign staff if Pence runs for President, campaign chairman if Pence seeks reelection in 2016, etc. Well, unlike others jumping in the race to the White House, Governor Pence has yet to make a campaign hire and has done little in the way of building a following in early primary states. My guess? He’s off to the races for Governor – at least for now. Making little news about his next steps, Berry has a long history of statewide office. Good on paper, but maybe weaker on the stump Berry could come out ahead in a competitive primary.

Rep. Todd Young is maybe the most interesting of the Senate hopefuls. Good on paper and a skilled politico, Young is certainly interested in the seat. Already wielding a sizable campaign fund and having a well-developed ground game within the 9th district, Young is who I would place my bets on. Coats is calling on a new generation of Republican leadership – despite his more moderate brand of Republicanism, Young seems best poised to answer the call.

Finally, there’s three more maybe less likely names to watch: Coat’s Chief of Staff Eric Holcomb, State Senator Jim Merritt and Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma.

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  • ReadyforHillary

    You forgot Hillary.

    • Carolyn Flynn

      Hillary for Indiana US Senator? Huh? You smoking the funny stuff, too? You leftists can’t even stay on topic!
      But yes, it would be a very good thing if we “forgot Hillary.”

  • disqus_HdkNwLza6Y

    Todd Young is too POLISHED….we, the little people in Indiana need a REGULAR GUY in the US Senate…..I will always vote for a FARMER over a lawyer….there are too many lawyers in Congress now !

  • hoosierpatriot

    What is missing from Todd Young’s history?

    Below is an abbreviated outline of Young’s academic, professional and political career:

    2011-Present: U.S. Representative from Indiana’s 9th Congressional District
    2006: Graduated from Indiana University with a J.D.
    2001: Graduated from the University of London with an M.A.
    2000: Graduated from the University of Chicago with an M.B.A.
    1995-2000: United States Marine Corps
    1995: Graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis with a B.S.

    • Carolyn Flynn

      Todd has a terrible voting record in the House. Certainly not worthy of serving this state as Senator. He should have been replaced in the last election.

  • Thinking Prof

    It is preposterous to state with certainty that the Republican candidate will definitely win the Senate seat in 2016 or that the state is “certain to go red in 2016.” Indiana is definitely red-leaning, but with the economy improving, the Affordable Care Act becoming more accepted every day, Obama’s approval ratings going up steadily, the overreaching of GOP majorities in both Congress and the Statehouse, the dysfuncionality of the GOP majority in Congress, and the fact that 22 months in politics is two full life cycles, predicting anything for certain is silly. If I were a Las Vegas oddsmaker, I’d put the Republican Senate candidate (who ever it turns out to be – and what happened to Susan Brooks, or is the GOP only interested in men candidates?) at better than 2-1, but to say its a certainty destroys Mr. Ireland’s credibility from the start. Or maybe he’s just wishing it were so.

    • Carolyn Flynn

      What are you smoking, Prof?
      Economy improving, ACA more accepted, Obama’s approval ratings going up? Are you kidding? Does the lie become truth the more you tell it?

      • Thinking Prof

        Read the numbers. Just because the thinking among your group of friends is rigid does not mean the climate and public opinions are not changing. Watching only Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh does not always give you the straight information. But the proof will be in the pudding come 2016, so stay tuned.

        • Carolyn Flynn

          There you go with the “Group-Think” mantra. Just can’t discuss a subject without applying labels and stuffing someone into the preformed box. This is what we call “prejudice” Prof. Remember? That stuff you so avidly accuse conservatives of every chance you get.

  • Wheelhelmina

    Do you honestly believe Dan Coats and Mike Pence share the same brand of conservatism?!

  • Carolyn Flynn

    You totally missed Mike Delph and perhaps John Hostettler. What about Don Bates? Lots of folks might want to run. Let’s give them a chance to show us who they are before you decide for them.

  • IndyJEF

    I think your crystal ball is cloudy. The only thing we can expect from whoever ends up running and winning is a move farther right and more divisiveness in his/her behavior. Tim Berry and Marlin Stutzman are weak candidates to say the least.