Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) officially received his party’s nomination to replace retiring Sen. Evan Bayh by the Indiana Democratic Central Committee this afternoon.
Ellsworth, who first won his seat in Congress in 2006, has been expected to be the Democratic Senate nominee since shortly after Bayh announced his retirement in February.
As the Indianapolis Star reports, Ellsworth’s nomination today was largely a ceremonial affair. Ellsworth will now face former Sen. Dan Coats, who won the Republican nomination in a May 4 primary.Ellsworth starts the fall campaign running behind Coats, who drew fire from tea party groups and Libertarians during the primary. The TPM Poll Average of the race shows Coats ahead by a margin of 47.4-34.2.
But so far, Ellsworth has proven to be the better fundraiser and has secured the full support of Bayh, who has decades of experience winning elections in Indiana.
Still, most prognosticators expect this race to be a uphill climb for Democrats, though one that Ellsworth can certainly win. The Cook Report rates the race as Lean Republican, as does CQ. The Washington Post calls the race a Tossup.