In 1990, a Seymour man walked across the state in an effort to promote his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
It didn’t pay off with a win and Baron Hill’s 25 years older now, but there’s a possibility he may make that walk again in the coming months.
That’s because the Democrat, who now lives in Carmel, all but made it official Thursday night that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate seat presently held by Republican Dan Coats. Coats announced earlier this year he plans to retire at the end of 2016 when his term expires.
At least two Republicans, Indiana Third District Congressman Marlin Stutzman and former Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb have already launched campaigns for Coats’ seat.
Hill told area Democrats about his decision to run Thursday night during the annual Bartholomew County Jefferson Jackson Dinner.
“That’s what I want to do,” he said.
Hill plans, however, to make it official sometime in June.
“I want to reach out and talk to people across the state,” the 61-year-old said. “I want to make sure I cross the Ts and dot the Is.”
Earlier this year, Hill said he was considering a run for the governorship in 2016.
“I’ve been a legislator all my life, and I just felt this is a better fit for me,” he said. “I think there is an opportunity to win this seat, and I’m going out to do that.”
As for that walk which took him from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan, Hill said it paid dividends because it gave him a chance to get out into communities, knock on doors and talk to people. It also put him face-to-face with the media, he said.
His opponent that year just happened to be Coats, and both were running for the opportunity to fill the remaining two years of Dan Quayle’s term after he was elected vice president.
Although he’s two and a half decades older, Hill said he’s still in good shape.
“I run every day, and I walk with my wife,” he said.
Hill has spent the past 30 years serving the public. He represented the 9th District, which includes Jackson County, from 1999 to 2005 and 2007 to 2011. He also was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1982 to 1990.
Earlier this year, Hill said he doesn’t have any campaign funds left from his 2010 congressional campaign, which he lost to Republican Todd Young of Bloomington. Young also is considering a run for Coats’ seat, but has made no public announcement.
On Friday, Hill said a senate campaign is going to require millions of dollars to mount, especially for a Democrat.
Hill hasn’t started the process of raising money yet, he said.
Besides politics, Hill is also a well-known former high school athlete. He was one of two Seymour High School players to be named to the Indiana All-Stars basketball team in 1971, and he still holds the Owls’ career scoring record with 1,419 points.
Spouse: Betty Schepman Hill
Children: Three daughters