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What Happens Now in Indiana’s Senate Race?

Today’s noon filing deadline to run for U.S. Senate in Indiana came and went. And thanks to Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-Ind.) last-minute retirement announcement, no Democrat appears to have qualified to run in his absence. So what happens now?

Bayh gave would-be successors virtually no time to gather the necessary signatures to appear on the May 4 primary ballot. And that means the state Democratic party is now in control.

According to Indiana election law, if no major party candidate runs in the primary, the state party chooses a nominee. The process of filling the vacancy may not officially begin until after the May 4 primary and the party caucus decision must be made no later than June 30.

The only Democrat who appeared to be actively gathering signatures for the Senate race was longshot Tamyra D’Ippolito, a cafe owner. To qualify, D’Ippolito was required to submit a petition for certification to the county voter registration offices by noon today. The Senate race required a petition signed by at least 4,500 registered Indiana voters, including at least 500 registered voters from each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts.

D’Ippolito was still trying to rally supporters more than four hours after today’s deadline. “I am the only Democrat in the state of Indiana that has filed for the U.S. Senate office,” D’Ippolito wrote on her Facebook page. “The machine is giving you the wrong information because they want you to quit filing signatures so they can APPOINT SOMEONE. Do not be fooled by them. FYI.”

Looks like someone’s still fooling herself….

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