Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) announced Saturday that he will not seek the seat of retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D), clearing the way for Rep. Brad Ellsworth to be the Democratic standard-bearer in November.
Hill was overseas when Bayh made his shocking announcement that he would not run for another term on Feb. 15, just one day before a key state filing deadline.
The Southern Indiana Congressman has expressed interest in running statewide previously, and after he returned from a Congressional delegation to Afghanistan he said he was mulling the Senate race — even though by that point Ellsworth had emerged as the heir apparent for the nod to succeed Bayh.
“I took some needed time this week to thoughtfully reflect upon what had transpired,” Hill said in a statement. “I would like to thank all those whose honest input I sought, including members of the Indiana Democratic Party’s Central Committee and folks from the Ninth District.”
Hill also offered support for Ellsworth, who faces a couple of little-known Democrats in his quest to become the party’s nominee. The state party’s central committee will ultimately pick its candidate after the state’s May 4 primary.
“I believe my friend and colleague, Congressman Brad Ellsworth, is the right man to fulfill the task of ensuring a Democrat is elected to succeed Senator Bayh,” Hill said.
Hill said he agreed with Bayh that the current level of partisanship in Washington, D.C., is alarming, but he said he has decided to stay and fight to improve it.
“I opt to stay in the game and continue to serve as an independent voice for my Southern Indiana constituents,” Hill said.
Republicans are targeting Hill for defeat in November. Several candidates are seeking the nomination to unseat him, including former Rep. Mike Sodrel.