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Indiana Senate Scramble

1:43 PM, Feb 15, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Hotline's Reid Wilson and Quinn McCord explain the nomination process in Indiana:

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.

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) is the early name Dem strategists are throwing around. He easily beat ex-Rep. John Hostettler (R) in '06 to capture a centrist district, and he has cut a moderate swath in his 2 terms in the House.

But according to this report by TPM's Eric Kleefeld, one candidate Tamyra d'Ippolito, "a cafe owner in Bloomington," is just 1,000 signatures shy of the 4,500 needed to qualify. Now, usually candidates need excess signatures in case some are thrown out, but it doesn't strike me as implausible that d'Ippolito could get 1,000 signatures in a day.

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