GOP turns to Dan Coats

May 5, 2010

By Mary Beth Schneider,

Even as former Sen. Dan Coats celebrated his victory Tuesday in the Republican primary election, the battle lines were being drawn in what is shaping up as a bruising fight for U.S. Senate.

Coats overcame four Republican opponents and the antipathy of many in the tea party movement to win the GOP nomination for the Senate seat he held from 1988 to 1998. With 98 percent of the precincts tallied, Coats had won with 39 percent of the vote.

Democrats won’t officially pick U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth as their nominee until May 15, when the party’s state central committee votes on a replacement to succeed Sen. Evan Bayh.

But the intensity of the coming election between Coats and Ellsworth was immediately apparent.

In fact, Coats said he’d start this morning, taking his campaign to Ellsworth’s home turf in Evansville.

In many ways, this will be a race of Washington versus Washington.

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