With his state's critical primary in two short weeks, Democratic Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh -- a strong supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- has been leaning on the Hoosier State's freshman House members to stay on the sidelines rather than endorse Sen. Barack Obama.
In an interview today, Bayh said he has appealed to Ellsworth, Hill and Donnolly to stay out of the race until their voters have spoken. Clinton will take all three of their districts, he said.
"Why should they get crosswise with some of their friends if they really don't need to?" asked Bayh, perhaps the most powerful elected Democrat in the state.
The effect of any endorsement -- his included -- "really is pretty marginal," Bayh said.
But with 25 percent of Indiana's Democratic voters in Chicago's media market, Clinton is going to have to run up her margins downstate. She doesn't need any headwind from the region's new House members.
"My advice to you is to follow the voters of your district," Bayh said he has been telling them.
He has not overtly asked them not to endorse, but, he added, his advice "would have that effect."
Well, that seems pretty clear (although it's a little odd that Bayh has not followed his own advice). In order to save Evan some time, I've prepared a table of just who the elected superdelegates should endorse according to his standard. Representatives follow the vote in their district; Governors and Senators the vote of their state.
As you can see, Barack Obama should have 136 endorsements from elected officials, instead of the 105 he has now -- that's a net gain of 31. Hillary, for her part, gains 23 superdelegates herself, which should help to put this nomination process closer to its conclusion.
Of course, there will have to be some switches -- and it will be a shame to lose advocates like Mssrs. Kerry and Kennedy. But I'd like to be the first to say that we'll gladly accept Mr. Bayh as a member of Team Obama if Barack wins Indiana!