Indiana Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth (D) is clear which Democrat he wants to campaign with this fall — and it's not President Obama.
"I haven't talked to anybody about coming to Indiana," he told The Ballot Box this week. "I don't have to bring anybody in because there's only two names [on the ballot]. It'll be Ellsworth-Coats."
Ellsworth would, however, like to campaign with retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).
"I'd be glad to have him," the two-term congressman said. "We haven't talked about, you know, coming in and doing that but I would be honored to campaign with him."
Ellsworth's campaign has said he wouldn't shy away from a visit from the commander in chief. But with the president's approval rating below 50 percent, it could be more advantageous to campaign with Bayh, who served two terms as governor before getting elected to the Senate in 1998.
For his part, Bayh has shown a willingness to help keep his seat in Democratic hands.
He's already helped Ellsworth financially, having transferred $1 million to the Indiana Democratic Party and hosted two national conference calls with his donors and a pair of fundraising events for Ellsworth in New York and Washington. Bayh has also corralled mailing lists for the congressman's campaign.
"Senator Bayh will be happy to do whatever Congressman Ellsworth asks
him to do," Brian Weiss, a spokesman for the senator, said in an
Bayh could help rally the Democratic base the same way Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is expected to do for the Indiana GOP this fall.
Daniels hasn't yet held an event for Republican Senate candidate Dan Coats, although the two have overlapped at gatherings where the governor praised the former senator.
Both Bayh and Daniels are considered potential presidential candidates. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has been encouraging Daniels to run in 2012. And Ellsworth thinks Bayh may have a shot at the presidency some day, too.
"I think he'd make a good one," he said.