Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) (GOP Weekly Address/YouTube screenshot)

GOP Sen. Dan Coats won't seek re-election in 2016

Retirement could set up competitive contest in Indiana


Luke Brinker
March 24, 2015 8:09PM (UTC)

Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana will not seek re-election next year, Indy Politics reports.

The Republican told the site that he decided to focus on his Senate work rather than gear up for a re-election battle. A formal announcement of his retirement is forthcoming.

Advertisement:

Appointed to the Senate in 1989 to succeed Dan Quayle, who had become vice president under George H. W. Bush, Coats kept the seat in a 1990 special election and won a full term in 1992. He did not seek re-election in 1998, and later served as ambassador to Germany during President George W. Bush's administration. Though he had relocated to North Carolina, Coats mounted a Senate comeback bid in Indiana in 2010, easily defeating Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. Evan Bayh.

Coats' retirement sets up a potentially competitive open-seat contest. Indy Politics reports that possible Republican candidates include state House Speaker Brian Bosma; U.S. Reps. Todd Young,Marlin Stutzman, and Todd Rokita; and Eric Holcomb, Coats' Indiana chief of staff. Possible Democratic contenders include Bayh, Ellsworth, and former Rep. Baron Hill.

Although Indiana is generally a Republican-leaning state, Barack Obama carried it in 2008, and now-Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) defeated an ultraconservative Republican opponent in 2012. The state is not as clear a Democratic pickup opportunity in 2016 as states like Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, but the higher turnout that comes with a presidential year at least increases the likelihood that the party's nominee will perform better than Ellsworth did in 2010, when he garnered just 40 percent of the vote.

Advertisement:

Coats is the first Republican senator to opt against a re-election bid in 2016. Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Barbara Boxer of California are also stepping down next year.


Luke Brinker

MORE FROM Luke BrinkerFOLLOW LukeBrinker


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Elections Dan Coats Indiana R-ind. U.s. Senate

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •