Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) shocked many today with his announcement that he would not seek re-election. One of those in the surprised category – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
According to a democratic source, as of 30 minutes ago, Sen. Bayh had not informed Sen. Reid of his decision. Most often, before major decisions are announced, like the one by Bayh, lawmakers will give a courtesy call to their leader to give them a heads up.
However, according to a source, Sen. Bayh did tell President Obama about his plans.This seems pretty telling to me. I take it as a not-so-subtle statement that he was more frustrated with the way Reid runs the senate than with Obama.
I seriously doubt Reid will win reelection (though news of a Tea Party candidate running in NV means anything possible). But even if he does, I think his days as leader of the senate are over. Assuming of course the Democrats are still in control of senate come 2011. The unlikely possibility of a power switch in the senate increased in probability ever so slightly with Bayh’s announcement.
Update: In the comments, Jake is distressed by a lack of sources in this post. While I will never understand people’s need to be snarky on the internet, I thought I might accommodate him and provide some links. He wasn’t clear which statement needed references to be believable so I’ll cover a few potential areas.
I said: “I seriously doubt Reid will win reelection.” See the most recent Rasmussen Reports polling for the Nevada senate race here. Reid is struggling to get above 40% support against any of his potential challengers. When an incumbent fails to break the 50% barrier, they should worry. When they fail to break the 40% barrier, they need not worry anymore because the race is in all likelihood over.
I said: “The unlikely possibility of a power switch in the senate increased in probability ever so slightly with Bayh’s announcement.” See a recent analysis by Nate Silver at the (liberal, if you are worried about biases) site Five Thirty Eight. Post Scott Brown, his model put the chances of a Republican takeover at 6-7% with another 6% chance of a 50-50 split. Thus, I used the phrase “unlikely possibility of a power switch.” If you scroll down to the section on Indiana, he had Bayh narrowly defeating either of his potential challengers at the time. Replacing Bayh with a lesser known candidate is likely to increase the Republican’s chances, which is why I used the phrase “ever so slightly”.
I said: “I think his days as leader of the senate are over.” This is of course opinion and harder to substantiate. (Which is why I prefaced the comments with “I think”, designating it opinion and not the result of a rigorous mathematical analysis.) That said, I think the opinion is justified. Reid has be ineffectual as majority leader and has made a number of missteps and quotes that one can assume have embarrassed Obama and the Democratic Party leadership. If it helps, my opinion is not unique. Over at the (again liberal, if you are worried about me cherry-picking only conservative sources) NPR, David Rothkopf suggested in an editorial that it was time to replace Reid.