I just spoke with Tamyra D’Ippolito, the candidate who was already running in the US Senate primary as a Democrat in Indiana before Evan Bayh ended his re-election bid today. D’Ippolito’s potential presence on the primary ballot complicates the ability for Indiana Democrats to handpick a nominee. If nobody qualifies for the primary, Indiana Dems can choose the candidate. But if D’Ippolito qualifies, then she would be the only candidate on that primary ballot, and Brad Ellsworth or Baron Hill or whoever would have to run a write-in campaign to defeat her in that primary in May.
So how’s D’Ippolito doing? She’s collected 3,500 of the 4,500 signatures, 500 in each Congressional district in Indiana, which are needed by noon tomorrow in order to qualify. D’Ippolito said that she’s particularly short in IN-08, in the Terre Haute/Evansville area of the district. Her campaign manager has contacted all of the heads of the county Democratic parties asking them if they would help her get on the ballot.
But she’s not getting the sense that they want to be helpful in that effort. “Politics in Indiana is the old boy’s school. They’re getting ready to put one of their own in,” D’Ippolito, a cafe owner in Bloomington who gained experience in politics running a primary campaign for Gretchen Clearwater in 2006. “My gut feeling tells me they’re meeting in a room, I don’t know if they’re smoking cigars,” D’Ippolito said, basically working under the assumption that Bayh’s announcement was timed so the state party could pick the nominee by themselves. “The timing of this is amazing.”
D’Ippolito told me she is the first woman to ever run for the US Senate in Indiana. Her impression from working on prior campaigns and from this one is that Indiana political culture is a “tight old boys school, it borders on sexism.” In a state where the population is 52% women, D’Ippolito says “in the future, we women of Indiana are not going to tolerate” the chummy, insider culture.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The first thing that came to mind for me upon the news of Evan Bayh's sudden announcement that he is retiring from the US Senate is regards the rules for elections. Tomorrow is the deadline for Democrats and Republicans to file their signatures to be on their parties' respective primary election ballots. A Huffington Post article sums up the rules well.
It does not appear that there will be time for Indiana Democrats to choose a top-flight candidate to back, and get signatures for. There was one intrepid Democrat, Tamara D'Ippolito, who was prepared to give Bayh a Primary challenge- if she herself could collect the necessary signatures on time, which has not been done. This suits the Democratic Party elite, apparently. From Fire Dog Lake:
Now, I suspect it may be as much as that she's a complete unknown, and one that hasn't raised any significant money, and hasn't yet mustered the needed signatures. Her website is child's play. Really, when I looked it over this afternoon, the first thing I thought was, "A complete amateur like this could perhaps win the US Senate, thanks to party label. I can think of a thousand better Libertarians".
But her comments are interesting. The Democrats? Good ol' boys? Borderline sexists? I love it. May they eat each other alive.