(AP) — Former Republican Sen. Dan Coats' campaign said Tuesday it has more
than enough petition signatures to put him on Indiana's May primary ballot
as he seeks the Senate seat Democrat Evan Bayh is leaving.
have a clear path to his party's nomination, as at least four other
Republicans expect to be on the ballot. Meanwhile, no Democrats met
Tuesday's deadline to submit the necessary signatures to get on the
primary ballot, meaning state party officials will pick a candidate for
the November election.
spokesman Kevin Kellems said Hoosiers had responded with "tremendous
enthusiasm" in helping gather the required 4,500 signatures since Coats
announced his campaign on Feb. 3.
spent 10 years in the Senate but did not seek re-election in 1998,
avoiding a contest against Bayh. He said in an interview last week that as
a former senator he was in the best position among the Republicans seeking
the nomination to wage a formidable campaign against Bayh.
Tuesday that Coats would run just as hard even with Bayh out of the race
and was taking nothing for granted.
political pros and the White House see this race as a factor in
maintaining control of the U.S. Senate to protect the president's extreme
political agenda, and therefore will field and finance a very strong
campaign," Kellems said.
Of the other
four seeking the Republican nomination, former Rep. John Hostettler said
he also had enough signatures, as did state Sen. Marlin Stutzman of Howe,
who filed for the primary Tuesday. Financial adviser Don Bates Jr. of
Winchester filed last week for the GOP primary.
for Fishers businessman Richard Behney said he also had enough signatures
to get on the ballot.
Tuesday he had traveled the state for more than 18,000 miles over the past
several months laying a foundation for his campaign. He predicted that
Republicans would not be fractured after the May 4 primary.
"I think once
we get through the primary, we're going to work hard and come together to
elect a Republican to the U.S. Senate," Stutzman said.
The 32 members
of the state Democratic central committee will select their party's
nominee after the only Democrat seeking to run for the Senate seat missed
out on qualifying for the primary ballot.
Democratic chairman Dan Parker said Bloomington cafe owner Tamyra
d'Ippolito failed to submit the needed 500 signatures in the 7th District.
The Marion County voter registration office reports it received just three
signatures for her by Tuesday's deadline.
candidates for U.S. Senate must submit 500 certified signatures in each of
the state's nine congressional districts to qualify for the primary
leaders will have until June 30 to fill the spot, and Parker said the
central committee will not call a meeting until there's consensus for the
party's eventual choice.
political circles when he announced Monday that he would not seek a third
term this year. He attributed his decision to the bitter partisan divides
that have dominated Congress in recent years.
Bayh, 54, said
he believed he would have been re-elected this November, despite "the
current challenging environment." But he said it was time for him to
contribute to society in another way, either by creating jobs with a
business, leading a college or university, or running a charity.
He had until
recent weeks been regarded as a near certainty for re-election, having
raised nearly $13 million for his campaign and facing little-known
Republican opposition until national Republicans recruited Coats to enter
Bayh has not
said what he will do with his campaign money.
Hilland, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, said Bayh had to
refund more than $570,000 he received that is earmarked specifically for
the 2010 general election. Of the rest, he can spend $2,000 in the primary
and again on the general election for individual federal candidates.
transfer as much as he wants to the Democratic National Committee, the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or the Democratic Senate
Campaign Committee, and can give money to the Indiana Democratic Party,