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Bayh makes run for U.S. Senate official

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Evan Bayh made it official Wednesday. He is running for the U.S. Senate.

He is also on the defensive about the attacks that Republicans began directing his way as soon as it became clear that he will replace Baron Hill as the Democrat on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

When asked if he will move back to Indiana Bayh said, “I’ve never left.”

He gets touchy when you talk about him living in Washington. He voted here in the May primary and holds an Indiana drivers license.

He owns a small condo on the north side, but his Washington home is worth millions.

He said, “I’m a Hoosier through and through. I’ve always been a Hoosier.”

Nevertheless, he knows that Republicans will try to make it an issue.

“They can choose to attack me. That’s their choice,” he said. “I choose to attack the challenges that face Hoosiers and America. That’s why I’m running.”

His TV ads hit the air Thursday. He appears on camera saying, “Now I look at my grown sons, Hoosier families, and America and can’t sit on the sidelines.”

He also is a friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton and knows that a Democratic win here could help capture control of the Senate for her party.

He said she didn’t convince him to run but won’t say if he talked with her.

“I’m not going to go into personal conversations and that kind of thing,” he said, “but let’s just say no one could talk me into running for public office.”

Bayh left the Senate six years ago citing dysfunction. He said there is more dysfunction now, but says that what’s different is that the American people now recognize it.

Bayh released the following statement, announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate:

With the challenges facing Indiana and our country, I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as partisan bickering grinds Washington to a halt. Hoosier families deserve more and I’ve decided to run to take their cause to the U.S. Senate.

It’s time for Indiana common sense – the principle that guided my work as Governor, when we crossed the aisle to cut taxes, reform welfare and create a scholarship program to help Hoosier families afford college. It’s how we supported our veterans and worked with business leaders to help create jobs, all while balancing the budget and building a surplus to protect taxpayers. It’s why I support a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget, fought in the Senate to cut red tape for small businesses and took on China to combat their unfair trade practices that take away our jobs. It wasn’t easy and there were immense frustrations but it’s not enough to just hope things get better.

One of the reasons I decided to retire was to spend more time with my twin boys and my wife. I am proud of that decision and cherish the time I’ve had with them. Now, I see their future – and all of Indiana’s future – put at risk by a broken political system. I’ll work every day to put progress ahead of partisanship and to earn the support of Hoosiers so that we can get back to getting things done for Indiana.”