Sen. Evan Bayh’s surprising move last week to announce he was not running for re-election was stunning, even to many most familiar with Indiana politics. However, the timing of said move (just before the candidate filing deadline) struck some the wrong way, even in his own party. The Democrats’ inability to field a candidate via signatures leaves the ultimate decision to the party’s State Chair and Central Committee. Janette Surrisi, a Democrat in Culver, has started a Facebook group (which has 55 members as of this writing) to rally state Dems in demanding that convention delegates be the ultimate deciders. In an e-mail, she writes:
The people of Indiana deserve to choose the democratic candidate for Evan Bayh’s senate seat. Evan Bayh announced only a day before the deadline to get on the primary ballot that he would not be running for election in 2010. Many speculate that the timing was a political maneuver to make sure that the Indiana Democratic Chairperson and Central Committee could hand pick the candidate of choice for the senate seat and in doing so leave many primary voters in the cold.
To remedy this, we believe that the more than 2,000 Indiana Democratic State Convention Delegates should pick the candidate for Bayh’s seat. Delegates are elected in the primary to go to convention. If not enough candidates are elected to delegate spots, county party chairman can appoint citizens of the party to the position. Currently, democratic delegates pick their Secretary of State, State Auditor, and State Treasurer candidates at convention.
We petition that Dan Parker and the Indiana Democratic Party Central Committee allow the delegates to vote for the democratic senator candidate at convention in June. We believe that the candidate that earns the most votes from the delegates should be named by the Central Committee as the candidate on the ballot for the democrats in November.
This group is dedicated to giving Indiana voters a voice. All voters Democrat, Republican, or Independent deserve to pick their candidates.