Report: Former GOP Sen. Dan Coats To Seek Comeback Bid Against Evan Bayh

February 3, 2010 5:35 a.m.

Former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) will reportedly announce that he is running for the Republican nomination for his old Senate seat, which is currently held by Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana journalist Brian Howey reports.

Coats was first elected to the House in 1980, and appointed to the Senate in 1989 after Dan Quayle’s election to the vice presidency. Coats was then elected in his own right in 1990 and 1992, and then retired in 1998, with Bayh picking up the seat.

Coats is a late entrant to the primary race, with former Rep. John Hostettler, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, and Tea Party activist Richard Behney already in the race. The election is also approaching its filing deadline — Coats will have to gather at least 4,500 ballot petition signatures, 500 within each of the state’s nine House districts, in the next two weeks.There are some highlights from Coats’ career, with which Democrats could have some fun.

In 1998 he questioned Bill Clinton’s bombing of al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, as being a possible distraction from the Lewinsky scandal. Coats said: “Once the president has broken the bond of trust with the American people, as he has done with his repeated lies, it raises questions about everything he does or does not do.”

In 2005, while helping to shepherd the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, he declared: “If great intellectual powerhouse is a qualification to be a member of the court and represent the American people and the wishes of the American people and to interpret the Constitution, then I think we have a court so skewed on the intellectual side that we may not be getting representation of America as a whole.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Eric Schultz is already on the attack, releasing this statement on a prospective Coats candidacy: “Dan Coats is a federally registered lobbyist whose client lists include banks, private equity firms, and defense contractors. Coats is a Washington DC insider who lined his own pockets as taxpayers spent $700 billion bailing out Wall Street banks. Indianans won’t ignore Dan Coats’ decade as a lobbyist working the system to gain special favors for the banking industry at the time of financial collapse and at the expense of working Americans.”

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