Dems Dodge a Bullet

Mark Murrmann/Newscom

Our Eric Kleefeld has spent the morning trying to make heads or tails of what’s going down in Indiana. Thing are still a bit hazy, but it looks like Democrats have avoided ending up with a political unknown as their nominee to succeed Evan Bayh in the U.S. Senate.

Today is the deadline for prospective candidates for the Democratic primary to file with each county clerk the petitions required by law in order to appear on the ballot. Earlier this morning Tamyra d’Ippolito — calling her a longshot is probably too generous — told us she already had all the signatures she needed to qualify. But shortly thereafter she told Greg Sargent that she didn’t really have them but she would have them by the noon deadline.Around that time, the state Democratic Party chairman, Dan Parker — a close Bayh ally, it should be noted — told us d’Ippolito wasn’t even close to having enough signatures to qualify. By his count, she had 22 signatures filed statewide, out of the 4,500 the law requires.

Just now, after the noon filing deadline passed, Eric checked in with the clerk in Marion County — the largest county in the state, where Indianapolis is located, which contains an entire congressional district. Indiana’s qualifying law, like many state’s, is byzantine. One requirement is that you have to have at least 500 signatures from each congressional district. The clerk tells us that d’Ippolito has filed a total of two signatures from residents of the congressional district wholly within Marion County.

That would seem to end the d’Ippolito boomlet — fueled partly by conservatives looking to cause trouble for Democrats — before it even began, but we’re still confirming the particulars.

But we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to obscure election rules because now the selection of a Democratic nominee is in the hands of state party officials.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.