Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

State News

July 18, 2014

What is Hogsett's next move?

Political speculation abounds after Joe Hogsett’s announcement Monday, July 14, that he’ll resign his U.S. attorney’s position at the end of the month.

Hogsett issued a public statement after first informing his boss, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, that he would be leaving the job effective July 31. The announcement included Hogsett’s reflections on the past four years and his expression of gratitude to his staff.

Few political pundits in Indiana were surprised by Hogsett’s pending resignation. And Hogsett¹s longtime political mentor, former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, called an impromptu news conference to tout Hogsett’s suitability for elective office –specifically mayor of Indianapolis – in 2015.

Bayh gave critical support to Hogsett, praising the attorney’s record as an aggressive prosecutor. Bayh said Hogsett¹s track record of cracking down on violent criminals is needed in a city that’s seen a wave of homicides – more than 80 – in recent months.

“He’s my friend, I believe in him, but of course he’s got to make his decision first,” Bayh said. “And I’ll do whatever I¹m legally allowed to do.”

Federal law prohibits Hogsett from talking about his political ambitions or taking any political steps before he leaves his current office. Hogsett has declined to confirm the rampant rumors that he¹ll seek the mayor’s office in the state¹s biggest city. That city’s mayoral election is in 2015.

But Bayh’s presence on Monday was seen as significant, given that the former U.S. senator and two-term governor has almost $10 million left over in his campaign chest. By law, Bayh is allowed to spend that money on candidates in local and state races.

Bayh, who lives and works in Washington, D.C., said he would come back to Indiana to campaign for Hogsett and other Democratic candidates who invited him. “I have a rule: If they feed me, I’ll come,” Bayh said. “And if they feed me barbecue, I’ll stay.”

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