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Coats and Coons

New candidate or potential candidate developments in the Senate races in Delaware and Indiana: In Delaware, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons is in the race to challenge Mike Castle for VPOTUS Joe Biden’s old seat, and in Indiana former U.S. senator Dan Coats is hinting strongly at making at run at incumbent Democrat Evan Bayh.

Delaware is the “First State,” so we may as well start there. Coons is officially in, and as reported by The New Journal, issued a statement saying: “People here in Delaware are hurting, and Congress has failed to deliver the change we voted for in 2008. I’m running to bring new energy and a new approach to Washington.” That’s an interesting, almost cryptic statement from the two-term and term-limited county exec, given that he wants to be the state’s new Democratic senator and the Democrats presently control Congress by wide margins. I suppose that Coons’ statement might be interpreted to imply obstructionism by Senate Republicans, but it sound eerily like the message that Scott Brown rode to victory in Massachusetts. Given that, like Brown was at one point, Coons is about 30 points behind Castle, the state’s popular at-large Congressman, perhaps Coons’ bid to run for Congress by running against Congress ain’t such a bad idea, however odd it may seem.

Turning to Indiana, the state that witnessed the most dramatic partisan turnaround between the 2004 and 2008 presidential cycles, the Coats’ announcement signals that (a) the GOP smells blood in the water in the Hoosier State; and (b) there must be a sufficient amount of blood if the somewhat anemic Coats is going to jump in. I mean, this is a guy who rose to power on the political back of Dan Quayle. Coats may have some ‘splaining to do, however, reports Politico’s Ben Smith: The former senator is registered to vote in Virginia, not Indiana. Gonna be tough to run against Washington as an “outsider” when you live in the DC suburbs and have been voting there for about a decade.

Oh, and I cannot help but send a reminder to politically vulnerable Evan Bayh, who has been a partisan gadfly for the president and Harry Reid: Taking a posture against one’s party in order to assert one’s independence and moderation doesn’t necessarily insulate you from attack by the other party. If Coats runs, watch how quickly he paints you as a lockstep liberal lackey for the Obama agenda, Senator.

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