Indiana's junior senator, Democrat Evan Bayh, will not be seeking a third term in the senate. On several levels, this is a startling blow to Democrats. Bayh is a liberal who successfully wears moderate drag. He was a shortlist candidate for Obama's VP, seems to have decent national recognition, and is certainly a household name in his home state. Also, given that Obama carried Indiana in 2008 this exemplifies how drastic the political winds have shifted. Not only was Bayh being challenged in a primary by former Sen. Dan Coates, but he was seen as vulnerable by the GOP and a spectrum of GOP veterans were entering the fray to dislodge him. Several themes seem to be emerging in the 2010 cycle. Incumbency is no longer a strong asset, name recognition may be as much of a vice as a virtue, and while a few GOP top dogs are steeping down, it looks like the head winds are decisively anti-Democratic. Is that the legacy of Obama's first year in office? Becoming Democrat kryptonite?
UPDATE: Over at The Corner, some speculate that Bayh may launch a primary bid against Obama. The werewolf thinks not, but stranger things have happened.
CORRECTION: Dan Coates is a Republican who will be running for the soon to be vacated senate seat. There was no Democrat primary challenger to Bayh.