Until Tuesday night, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh’s bid for a third term wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Republicans had a string of recruiting disappointments as Gov. Mitch Daniels and Rep. Mike Pence said they weren’t interested in challenging Bayh. Republicans’ fortunes changed, though, when word leaked that former Republican Sen. Dan Coats would announce his candidacy.

Coats was elected to the House in 1980, succeeding his former boss, Dan Quayle, who ran for and won a Senate seat that year. He served four terms before being appointed to Quayle’s Senate seat in 1989. He won a special election in 1990 with 54 percent, and was re-elected in 1992 with 57 percent. Coats opted to retire in 1998, because, according to the conventional wisdom at the time, he didn’t have the stomach for a race against Bayh, who was coming off two successful terms as Governor. Since leaving the Senate, Coats spent four years as Ambassador to Germany and has remained active in national Republican politics. The Bush Administration called upon him to help shepherd Harriet Miers through the confirmation process when

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