Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh said Monday he will seek to contribute to society outside of politics once his U.S. Senate tenure ends in November, citing partisanship and narrow ideology in Congress as reasons to move on.
The junior Democratic senator said he will not seek a third term, setting up an unexpected challenge for the majority party in Washington to replace him.
Bayh, a popular politician who had served as Senator in the traditionally conservative, Republican-leaning state since 1999, had been elected five times without a defeat for statewide office in Indiana.
He said his desire to serve in Congress has waned, according to a transcript of comments made at press conference today at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
He said his decision was not political and that he believed he would have been re-elected in November.
To put it in words most people can understand: I love working for the people of Indiana, I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress, he said.
A pair recent reasons he cited in his decision were the Senate's recent votes to reject a proposed commission to reduce the federal budget and deficit as well as the rejection of a jobs bill.
The decision was a very difficult personal one, he said.
There is too much partisanship and not enough progress -- too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving, he said. Even at a time of enormous challenge, the peoples' business is not being done.
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, he said.