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After reading that Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (above) was “retiring” (at age 54) won’t run for re-election, we turned to an article in Politico about a wave of Republicans running against entrenched Democrats in eastern coal country. “Republicans believe there are three words so powerful that they might reshape the political order in an economically beleaguered corner of the country: War on coal,” reports Politico’s Jonathan Martin.

Martin finds that in races in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, established Democrats who have been supportive of the coal industry are facing stiff opposition from Republicans. A former state supreme court judge switched parties to run against 17-term incumbent Rep. Nick Joe Rahall. Elliott “Spike” Maynard said he would “fight to end this war on coal.” Similarly, former strip miner Mike Templeman is running against Rep. Ben Chandler, saying he “opposes the Obama Administration’s war on coal.” Anyway, lots of contested races in Appalachia this year.

Okay, back to Bayh….The Indianapolis Star reports that Bayh was retiring because of excessive partisanship in Congress. In his statement (to be released later this afternoon), Bayh cites recent failures at bipartisanship — the demise of the jobs bill and the defeat of a commission to deal with the nation’s debt — as reasons for his decision.

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