PLYMOUTH -- In the past 35 years, only two Democrats have been elected to represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate.
Both of them have the same last name: Bayh.
Evan Bayh was Indiana's governor from 1989 to 1997 and a senator from 1999 to 2011. His father, Birch Bayh, was a senator from 1963 to 1981.
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, of Granger, is the Democrat running for one of the state's Senate seats this year, and the younger Bayh has been helping him campaign.
They teamed up Wednesday and Thursday for a "Main Street Tour" across Indiana. They started in Indianapolis, Speedway and Terre Haute on Wednesday, and continued to Fort Wayne, Plymouth and East Chicago on Thursday.
Donnelly, who is running against Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a Republican, said the tour was to highlight his commitment to supporting small businesses and bipartisan solutions in Congress.
"I'm running against a fella who has said his view of bipartisanship is Democrats and independents doing what Republicans want them to do," Donnelly said at Opie's Deli in Plymouth. "My view of bipartisanship is everybody working together."
Bayh told reporters in 2010, when explaining why he wouldn't run for re-election, that partisan bickering had made Congress dysfunctional.
"What we need in Washington right now are people who will put progress over partisanship and practical solutions over brain-dead ideology," he said Thursday. "That's the kind of leader Joe Donnelly will be."
Mourdock spokesman Christopher Conner said Bayh and Donnelly have supported increased government spending, including President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, which cost $787 billion. They've also voted to raise the debt ceiling, he said.
"These positions are at odds with most Hoosiers, and they will reject Congressman Donnelly like Obama at the ballot box this November," Conner wrote in an e-mail.
Lance Trover, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, noted that Bayh and Donnelly also provided key votes to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010.
"It should also not be lost on anyone that Obamacare contains the infamous medical device tax, which is of particular importance to the manufacturers of northern Indiana," Trover wrote in an e-mail.
Donnelly said the health care law has good points, such as improved coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and more-affordable prescription drugs for seniors, and he's been working to repeal the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices.
"The health bill's not perfect, and we'll continue to work on it," he said. "Any good ideas people have, I'm more than happy to take them and incorporate them."
Bayh isn't the only big name who's been helping the Donnelly campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's political action committee, Majority PAC, released an anti-Mourdock advertisement Tuesday.
Staff writer Kevin Allen: