Bye Bayh, Here's Johnny

One Democratic White House contender throws in the towel, as another prepares to toss his hat into the ring

Published December 16, 2006 6:42PM (EST)

Like a leaf on a late-autumn tree, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has decided to relinquish his presidential ambitions to the winter breeze and flutter silently to the ground, where he will join Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner in the Democratic rake pile of almost-rans.

In a statement released Saturday morning, Bayh was refreshingly blunt about his reason for dropping out of the race: He didn't think he would win. "The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath," Bayh told his supporters. "And whether there were too many Goliaths or whether Im just not the right David, the fact remains that at the end of the day, I concluded that due to circumstances beyond our control the odds were longer than I felt I could responsibly pursue."

Bayh's departure from the Democratic field leaves one major Goliath (Sen. Hillary Clinton), a dwindling number of bright-eyed Davids (Tom Vilsack, Wesley Clark, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson), a few old warriors (John Edwards, John Kerry, Al Gore), and one rock star (Barack Obama). Only Vilsack has officially announced his campaign, though the Associated Press is reporting today that Edwards will announce his intention to run before New Years.

But stay tuned. The field is in flux. Winter is only now setting in.

By Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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