Reid Wilson and Quinn McCord of Hotline On Call explain what Bayh's timing means for the Democratic nomination process:
Sen. Evan Bayh's (D-IN) decision to retire has sent Dems scrambling to figure out who will carry the party's standard -- and how to go about getting that person on the ballot in the first place.
Candidates running for statewide office in IN have to collect 500 signatures from each of the state's 9 districts. Those signatures are due by tomorrow.
Once signatures are in, candidates have until Friday to officially file for office.
Bayh could still file to run, then drop out. But if he does not file his signatures tomorrow, no other Dem is expected to collect the required 500 signatures by then, meaning Dems will get the chance to pick their own nominee. Some DC Dems say the process is the best-case scenario short of having Bayh on the ballot for a 3rd term; allowing the party to pick a nominee will avoid a primary.
Unlike Democrats, Republicans already have candidates vying for their party's nomination, including former Rep. John Hostetler and Senator-turned-lobbyist Dan Coats. Because the signature deadline is tomorrow, that pretty much sets the GOP field. Unless both Hostetler and Coats were to withdraw, Republicans won't be in a position to choose a nominee as will Democrats. The implication of that: Bayh's timing appears to make it nearly impossible for candidates like Rep. Mike Pence (who says he will not run despite Bayh's retirement) or Gov. Mitch Daniels to get on the ballot.
So while Bayh was a sure thing versus Coats and Hostetler, given his retirement, Bayh's timing here may actually give Democrats the best chance at holding onto the seat.