Baron Hill drops out of Senate race; Bayh expected to run; Pence a top contender to be Trump’s running mate

12:18 p.m. National Republican Senatorial Committee responds to reports of Bayh running for Senate
NRSC Executive Director Ward Baker made the following statement regarding the Indiana Senate race.

“Hoosiers will have a very clear choice in November. Todd Young is a Marine who has fought to protect Indiana values, create jobs, and stood up against dangerous policies like Obamacare and cap-and-trade. Evan Bayh is a lobbyist who backed the Obama agenda 96 percent of the time as he left the Senate in 2010, knowing he couldn’t win re-election thanks to his support for the toxic Democrat agenda. His support for Obama’s job-killing policies disqualifies him from the opportunity to represent Indiana again.

“Bayh is a tax hiker and the definition of a Washington insider who didn’t even wait a month to sign a lobbying deal after he left office six years ago. And when Barack Obama and Harry Reid come calling, Bayh is standing at the ready. This bait-and-switch maneuver is the latest sign that Democrats are desperate to hang onto their diminishing chances to take the Senate in November.  It won’t work. On Election Day, Hoosiers will send in a Marine to do the job of representing them in the Senate.”

12:15 p.m. John Gregg issues statement
Today, John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor, released the following statement in reaction to former Congressman Baron Hill’s decision to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race.

“On behalf of the entire Gregg/Hale team, I want to extend our deep appreciation to Baron Hill for his years of service to the people of Indiana. While its disappointing that he won’t be continuing that service in the United States Senate, I respect his decision. We’ve been friends and colleagues for 30 years and I know that no matter what the future holds, Baron will continue make positive contributions to our state and party in the years to come.”

12:10 p.m. Young responds to reports of Bayh entering the Senate race
Todd Young Campaign Manager Trevor Foughty issued the following statement regarding a report Evan Bayh would enter the U.S. Senate race:

“After he cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, Evan Bayh left Indiana families to fend for themselves so he could cash-in with insurance companies and influence peddlers as a gold-plated lobbyist. This seat isn’t the birthright of a wealthy lobbyist from Washington, it belongs to the people of Indiana.”

11:28 a.m. AP: Bayh to make announcement this morning
The Associated press reports:

WASHINGTON — Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is expected to make another run for Senate in Indiana, Democratic officials said Monday, a development that would dramatically improve the party’s chances to win back the vacant seat, and Senate control along with it.

Democrats have been courting Bayh for months to run for the seat now held by Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who is retiring. Bayh, who retired in 2010 following two terms, is sitting on around $10 million in left-over campaign funds.

But he held out, and when the primary happened May 3 former Democratic Rep. Baron Hill won the party’s nomination.

But Hill was not considered a strong candidate to take on the GOP nominee, establishment favorite Rep. Todd Young, in the GOP-leaning state. On Monday, Hill announced he had filed papers to withdraw from the nomination. In a statement, Hill alluded to Bayh’s likely candidacy without mentioning him by name.

“Democrats have a very real chance at winning this Senate seat, especially with a strong nominee who has the money, name identification and resources to win,” Hill said. “I do not want to stand in the way of Democrats winning Indiana and the U.S. Senate. That would not be fair to my party or my state. And, the stakes are far too high in this election not to put my country above my own political ambitions. In accordance with Indiana law, I have filed the necessary paperwork to withdraw from the race.”

The Democrats spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a public announcement.

The development was first reported by CNN.

11:07 a.m. Pence and Stewart in Columbus today
Two of the city’s native sons are coming to the fair today, and the worlds of politics and auto racing almost collide.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is slated to be at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair today at 5 p.m. as speculation grows he could be Donald Trump’s running mate.

In an unrelated appearance, Tony Stewart, in his last season as a NASCAR driver, is scheduled to be at the fair today at 6 p.m.

11:05 a.m. Hill issues statement.
Here’s what Hill said in a letter to supports this morning:

Dear friends:

I can’t thank you enough for your support over the last year and a half since I first announced my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. We have worked tirelessly to raise money and to build a grassroots network that would hopefully carry us to victory on Election Day.

I got into this race to put Hoosiers first and to always do what’s right no matter the political cost. That’s how I have run each of my races before, and that’s what I have done throughout my time in public service – from the Indiana General Assembly to the U.S. House of Representatives.

I have never run away from tough decisions or tough fights. But, I am a pragmatic person who will always put my country and my state first. I am also a proud Democrat who wants to see an Indiana Democrat fighting for Hoosier families alongside Senator Joe Donnelly in the U.S. Senate. And, I want to do everything in my power to ensure a U.S. Senate that will govern responsibly.

That is why, after consulting with my family, my staff and party leaders, I am withdrawing from the U.S. Senate race and removing my name from the November ballot.

While our campaign had been making great progress and building momentum all over Indiana, it is simply not enough to fight back against the slew of out-of-state, special interest and dark money that is certain to come our way between now and November.

Democrats have a very real chance at winning this Senate seat, especially with a strong nominee who has the money, name identification and resources to win. I do not want to stand in the way of Democrats winning Indiana and the U.S. Senate. That would not be fair to my party or my state. And, the stakes are far too high in this election not to put my country above my own political ambitions.

In accordance with Indiana law, I have filed the necessary paperwork to withdraw from the race and I have notified Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. The Indiana Democratic Party’s State Central Committee will now undertake a process to fill the vacancy with a nominee who will win in November.

To those of you who have been with me from the very beginning and who have contributed to this campaign or any of my previous campaigns, I cannot thank you enough for the support you have given to Betty and me. We are eternally grateful, and your faith in us will never be forgotten.

While I am withdrawing from this race, I intend to stay involved and do everything I can to help elect a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. I hope you will continue to do the same.

11 a.m. Monday Democrats confirm Hill dropping out

Statement from the Indiana Democratic Party:

John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, released the following statement after Baron Hill announced his decision to withdraw from the U.S. Senate Race.

“Baron Hill is a friend and a mentor, and I am proud to know him. His service to this state has always come from the heart – he is one of the most principled people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Congressman Hill has informed me of his withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race, and as State Party Chair I will begin the process for the Democratic State Central Committee to fill the ballot vacancy in accordance with Indiana state law.” is reporting:

Democrat Baron Hill is dropping out of the Indiana Senate race and will be replaced as the Democratic nominee by former Sen. Evan Bayh, upending the race in a state Republicans expected to hold easily this fall.

Bayh, who is also a former governor of Indiana, still has approximately $9.3 million in a federal campaign account that has sat nearly dormant since he left the Senate in 2010. GOP Sen. Dan Coats won the seat that year but is retiring this fall.

Hill, a former House member, was preparing to face GOP Rep. Todd Young in the general election.

Hill’s campaign manager, Brad Howard, told POLITICO on the phone that Hill is leaving the race and Bayh is replacing him, but said afterwards he meant to be talking to someone who is not a member of the press.

The Washington Times is reporting:

CLEVELAND — Scrambling among Indiana politicians has reached the point where Republican Party insiders are convinced that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump will pick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.

Constitutional lawyer James Bopp, an Indiana delegate to the Republican National Convention who is close the governor, told The Washington Times that Indiana House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, 58, a conservative Republican, had sought advice from him on running for governor.

“He wanted my counsel on what he needed to do to set himself up to run for governor, because he expects Pence to step down as governor in order to be Trump’s running mate,” Mr. Bopp said in an interview.

The Trump election team boosted the Pence speculation Sunday by suddenly adding a campaign rally in Indianapolis to a fundraiser planned for Tuesday featuring Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence.

Several Republicans close to the campaign and to the governor have told The Times over the last 24 hours that they are now convinced it’ll be Mr. Pence.