July 11, 2016 / 3:17 PM / 3 years ago

Race for U.S. Senate seat in Indiana shaken up by Hill withdrawal

Congressman Mike Ross (D-AL) (L) confers with Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN) during the House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting to markup H.R.3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington July 30, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Baron Hill on Monday announced he was leaving the race for an open U.S. Senate seat in Indiana, clearing the way for a potentially more popular, better-funded Democratic candidate and possibly helping the party’s prospects in November’s elections.

“After consulting with my family, my staff and party leaders, I am withdrawing from the U.S. Senate race and removing my name from the November ballot,” Hill, a former Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives said in a Facebook post.

Media organizations reported that former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, who also has served as Indiana’s governor, would replace Hill on the Democratic ballot in the Nov. 8 election.

Bayh was not immediately available for comment, but if he enters the race, he would challenge Representative Todd Young, the Republican nominee.

In announcing his decision, Hill noted that Democrats have a good chance of winning majority control of the Senate, “especially with a strong nominee who has the money, name identification and resources to win. I do not want to stand in the way of Democrats winning Indiana and the U.S. Senate.”

Bayh, who served two terms in the Senate before retiring in 2010, has nearly $10 million in cash on hand, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

According to the FEC, Hill had less than $400,000 cash on hand.

Reporting By Kouichi Shirayanagi; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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