Tamyra d’Ippolito, a cafe owner who has been seeking the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Evan Bayh, just told TPMDC that she does have the minimum number of ballot-petition signatures need to get on the ballot for the Democratic primary. If her petitions do in fact work out, that would seriously complicate the efforts by the party to pick a new candidate to replace Bayh, the retiring incumbent Democrat, on the ballot this November.
In order to appear on the primary election ballot for Senate, a candidate in Indiana must obtain 500 petition signatures in each of the state’s nine House districts — and the deadline is today. Yesterday, d’Ippolito said she was about 1,000 short of the overall goal of 4,500. However, she said, in the last day signatures picked up considerably –Â and she is prepared to fight any potential efforts by the Democratic Party to have enough signatures invalidated to put her below the quota.
“We have enough signatures and we’re ready to go to court. We’re ready to fight,” said d’Ippolito. “And yes it’s politics, and I’m sure there are certain Democrats, I hope they are the minority, I’m sure there are certain Democrats who will try those underhanded activities. I hope they would be wiser not to take that road.”Democrats were apparently expecting that nobody would successfully file for the Senate seat, given the fact that Bayh dropped out a day before the petitions were due. Under Indiana law, the state Democratic Party’s central committee has the authority to name a new candidate. If d’Ippolito is indeed able to make the ballot, then the Dems would have to find some other means to get a different candidate — or else have her as their nominee.
D’Ippolito said the people of Indiana should choose the candidate, not a party committee. “And this is what the machine in Indiana does not want to happen, because they want to choose the candidate, they want to put another Blue Dog in there,” she said. “It’s a different body than Evan Bayh, same thing, different face, Blue Dog. We don’t want any more Blue Dogs. It’s bye-bye Bayh, and bye-bye Blue Dogs in the state of Indiana.”
I asked d’Ippolito about the possibility that Republicans may have given her a hand. Erick Erickson, for example, personally encouraged his Indiana readers to sign her petitions. “God bless him, because anybody can sign the petition,” said d’Ippolitio. “Republican, Democrat, independent, teabag person, any registered voter with a warm pulse can sign.”
D’Ippolito was not specifically aware of Republicans who signed her petitions in order to cause problems for the Democrats, but she didn’t have a problem with it: “I have no way to know that for sure, but I’m sure that is happening. It’s common sense, I think that would be realistic.”
Late Update: After telling TPM that she already had the necessary signatures collected, d’Ippolito is now denying to Greg Sargent that she has them yet, saying instead that she would have them in time.