Indiana Dems get the candidate they want: No one

A long-shot bid by Tamyra d'Ippolito appears to have fallen way short of qualifying for the ballot

Published February 16, 2010 5:40PM (EST)

It looks like the Democratic establishment finally caught a bit of a break Tuesday: Tamyra d'Ippolito has, apparently, not qualified for the ballot for the party's nomination for Senate in Indiana.

Petitions were due at noon Tuesday to qualify for the election for the Senate seat that Evan Bayh has suddenly decided he doesn't want anymore. D'Ippolito, who had been the only other Democrat running against Bayh, presented a potentially serious problem for the party: She had very few resources, very little experience and was unlikely to pose much of an obstacle to whichever Republican wins the GOP nomination. But if she had managed to qualify for the ballot, she would have been the Democratic nominee, since no one else would have made it into the primary.

In order to qualify, though, d'Ippolito needed to turn in petitions with valid signatures from 500 voters in each of the state's nine congressional districts. And in Marion County, the home of Indianapolis, which encompasses the entire 7th Congressional District, she turned in a grand total of two signatures.

"She fell 498 signatures short in the 7th Congressional District," Terry Burns, the Democratic member for the Marion County Board of Voter Registration, told Salon. "Since we have the entire 7th within our county, it's fair to say she fell way short." The county Board of Elections, where petitions could also have been turned in, received nothing from d'Ippolito at all Tuesday, according to Alex Bowscher, a clerk there.

That means the party establishment will pick a candidate, since Bayh's withdrawal means no one will have qualified. Republicans, hoping to stir up trouble, are calling for the deadline to be extended, but it's set by statute, which means it might not be able to be changed even if everyone wanted to push it back.

Democrats will continue searching for a stronger candidate for November. So far, sources say, they've been focusing on Rep. Brad Ellsworth or Rep. Baron Hill.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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2010 Elections Evan Bayh D-ind.