Former senator may challenge Bayh

 Former Republican Sen. Dan Coats said Wednesday he's considering running against Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh in November.

Bayh took Coats' seat after the 1998 election. Coats served as ambassador to Germany under George W. Bush and worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

Despite Coats' absence in Indiana politics, Raymond Scheele, political science professor, said he thought Coats' experience serving Indiana could make him a good opponent against Bayh.

Scheele said it is too early to forecast how Coats would do against Bayh, but Bayh's recent loss of points in the polls could be an advantage for Coats if he decides to run.

Scheele said questions about Coats' career as a lobbyist and out-of-state residency should not prove a challenge for the former senator.

"Anything on the record of the person has to be addressed by that candidate," Scheele said.

However, Scheele said Bayh has the economic advantage for his campaign. Scheele said Indiana is one of the most expensive states when it comes to politics because of the media market.

Despite the economic disadvantage, Scheele said Coats could be well received by the Republicans, who are looking for an opportunity to win the Indiana seat.

Brad Polk, chairman of the Delaware County Republican Party, said Republican victories in other states such as Massachusetts and Virginia are a good sign for candidates running for the Indiana senate seat.

"I think it just shows that people are very upset with the way things are going, this and the last year," he said.

Mike Uehlein, president of the Ball State University Democrats, said Coats' out-of-state residency could prove a disadvantage if he were to run against Bayh.

"I'm looking forward for Dan Coats to return to Indiana, and I'm looking forward for him to actually speaking to Hoosier voters before he decides to enter a race to represent us," he said. "And I hope he decides not to run his senate race from Virginia, where he lives."

Uelhein said students have looked to Bayh because of his aid towards students.

"Evan Bayh has shown that he is committed to college students through, extending the Pell Grants and providing a tax break to parents who are paying college tuition for their students," he said.

Uehlein said Coats could have a disadvantage with the student body because not many students in Ball State know him.

"He is not much of a celebrity, considering I had not heard of him until about two days ago," he said. "But I'm looking forward to having him actually returning to Indiana and hopefully we can hear some of what he has to say."

Polk said he thought college-level students are among the voters that will participate in supporting Republicans in the primaries.

"We are actively seeking support from the students not only for this year, but for the Coats position and him running against Bayh," he said.

Polk said the Republicans are now focusing on how to aid college students as well.

"We want to reach out to Ball State students to show we are kind of in touch with what some of the issues are going to be, the educational funding that they are going to face, and student loans is one of the programs the Reps. are concerned about."


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