Via Hotline OnCall:

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) will not seek a 3rd term in the Senate next year, according to a Dem source, handing Dems yet another setback as they struggle to salvage their damaged ship.

Bayh, elected statewide 5 times, will become the 5th Senate Dem not to seek another term. His decision to step aside , first reported by The Fix and confirmed to Hotline OnCall, creates an open seat in IN, a usually-red state that broke the mold in ’08 by voting narrowly for Pres. Obama.

Details and updates to follow.

Let the updates begin – Here is Bayh’s statement via IndyStar:

“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” he said.

“My decision was not motivated by political concern,” he added. “Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election.” …

“But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough,” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.”

I think it would be a mistake to view this decision solely or even primarily as a reaction to election chances.

Rather, Bayh has seemed sick of the whole process the past year.

I have commented before that Bayh was largely missing in action, or in hiding, during the health care debate when one would have expected him to be front and center. Back in mid-December, just before the Senate health care vote, I asked:

Where is Evan Bayh? His silence has been deafening.

I even issued an Amber Alert for Evan Bayh.

We have found Evan Bayh, and he apparently didn’t want to be found.

Or how about this, “Evan Bayh didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left Evan Bayh.”

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