Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh, the former senator who is making a comeback bid this year, dismissed charges that he moved to Washington after retiring in 2010 by comparing himself to a Republican who was defeated for losing touch with his home state.
"We have a home in D.C. and we have a home in Indianapolis. We list them both for different things," Bayh told Politico. "Dick Lugar, when he was in the Senate, Dan Coats right now in the Senate, have all had to juggle representing Indiana while also having a presence in Washington, D.C. There's no difference."
Lugar, a six-term senator, was defeated in a 2012 Republican primary as voters rejected him on account of his "lack of residency" in the state. That makes the comparison potentially unfortunate for Bayh, who is trying to fend off similar attacks in his bid to defeat Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., in the race to succeed the retiring Republican Coats.
Bayh is regarded as an "inactive" voter in the state by Indiana election officials, although he's still a registered voter. Republicans seized on that news to bolster their contention that Bayh — who stepped down as senator in 2010 but was recruited to run again by incoming Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer — abandoned his state to work in Washington over the last six years.
"After earlier reports revealed that Bayh listed his D.C. home as his official residence on multiple documents and moved his charitable foundation from Indiana to the offices of his Washington lobbying firm, a new report confirms that Bayh ditched Indiana so he could profit from the revolving door in Washington, D.C.," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Greg Blair wrote in an email to reporters.
Bayh insisted that those charges won't stick. "I think you can follow me around here, people know me, they know my service," he told Politico. "I was representing my state when my opponent was in high school. I mean, I know our state. I love our state. Five generations. I don't think that's going to be a compelling issue."