Mike Pence has been getting pressure to take on Evan Bayh in the Senate race this year, and he's likely to get even more when he meets with the National Republican Senatorial Committee this afternoon. When he visited us earlier this month, he was pretty negative about the idea. He seems to have opened up a little to the possibility -- "I'm not ruling anything out" -- and he has some big-name GOP strategists on his campaign staff, but he's still mostly saying no:
“Mr. Pence is flattered by the speculation, but he is focused on electing House Republicans in 2010 and serving the needs of his constituents in eastern Indiana,” said Matt Lloyd, Pence's spokesman.
I'm sure he'd rather be a senator than a representative -- who wouldn't? -- but he'd be giving up a safe seat to take a big gamble. It's easy to say that Scott Brown's stunning win in Massachusetts proves a Democrat can be beaten anywhere, but Bayh has very deep pockets, and he's a lot more liked in this state than the spectacularly inept Martha Coakely is in hers. There is an argument conservatives could make against Pence taking on Bayh. If Democrats are especially vulnerable this year, maybe somebody else could beat him. That way, we'd still have Pence in the House and another conservative in the Senate.
But I think you put in the best you've got for every game -- weren't we all make at the Colts for not doing that? If Republicans don't persuade their best hope to get in the race -- and right now, that's Pence -- then they can't complain to