Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) announced today that he would not seek reelection — just days before Indiana’s Friday deadline for the 4,500 signatures required for candidacy in the race.

As TPM reports:

R.J. Gerard, communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party confirmed to TPMDC that the state Democratic Party would be able to select a new candidate to run in November’s general election if no one files petitions with 4,500 signatures (500 within each of the state’s nine House districts) to run in the primary.

So the state Democratic Party is going to pick the candidate for November’s general election. Bayh had been leading in the polls against his Republican challenger, Dan Coats, by a healthy 20-point margin, and Bayh’s exit means that will probably be largely forfeit.

It remains to be seen what Democrats across the country have learned from Scott Brown’s unexpected victory in Massachusetts.

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Much has been made of Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) election to the U.S. Senate, since by taking the seat held since time immemorial by Ted Kennedy, Brown has effectively squelched congressional Democrats’ “filibuster-proof” 60-seat majority. This has been interpreted variously as rank ineptitude on the part of Brown’s Democratic opponent, former Massachusetts state Attorney General Martha Coakley, and as a “referendum on health care reform” by voters angry with Democratic inaction since they won their majority two years ago.

Lost in these analyses are the different sets of implications for any Democratic coalition in the Senate. Counterintuitively, 59 may be a more powerful majority that 60, at least from the perspective of Democratic party leadership.

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