On the heels of Sen. Evan Bayh's Monday announcement that he will not seek reelection, Ellsworth's name has been one tossed out as a potential replacement to run for the seat as a Democrat.
Ellsworth made his Putnam County Listening Tour Stop at Greencastle City Hall Wednesday morning to more press and citizen attention than past tours have generated.
In an interview with press members before the event, the congressman said he is getting encouragement to run "from a lot of different areas."
"Three ladies at a gas station about 10 minutes ago said, 'Do it,' and 'Go for it,'" he said with a laugh.
Before simply 'going for it,', though, Ellsworth said he has many things to consider, including the thoughts of his family and constituents.
"I've had very little time to talk to Beth (his wife) and our daughter about that and what that would mean to our family and to my constituents. You get pretty protective of your area, so I don't want to feel like I'm deserting them," he said.
"That's nothing you want to make on a whim. It's a huge undertaking. It's a huge responsibility, as is the House of Representatives," Ellsworth added. "But I'll give it a look and listen to what people are saying and make a decision in a few days."
As the town hall meeting began, thoughts of what office Ellsworth might seek in the fall lingered.
"We know that he is running for reelection, and a lot of us have on our mind how many people he might be representing from the state of Indiana," Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray said in her introduction.
Getting down to the questions, though, Ellsworth didn't find quite the same encouragement from all of the gathered constituents. Similar to how Bayh, another moderate, expressed frustration Monday with being in the middle of conservative and liberal agendas, Ellsworth was alternately accused of "taxing and spending" and asked why he voted against cap and trade legislation.
"Senator Bayh was exactly right. Petty partisan politics gets in the way," Ellsworth said.
Ellsworth fielded a question from a health care reform supporter, as well as a number from some vocal detractors. The congressman responded to all that he had voted for the bill, not because it was perfect, but because he knew anything ultimately passed would be revised before taking its final form.
"I think we'll still get there," Ellsworth said.
He also said he gets input from lots of different places, including the national level, the state level and his 700,000 constituents.
"My job as a representative is to take those opinions and try to use all of them and then make my decision," he said.
Another big theme of the day was fiscal responsibility in the federal government. While many in the audience indicated they were frustrated with the current system, Ellsworth included, he was speaking a message of responsibility. Instead, the government should set its budget and then stick to it.
"We can't do this 'emergency spending' and then fool you in November," Ellsworth said.
He used an example from his personal life as a model for how the government should approach spending.
"When Beth and I were saving for Andrea's college, there were a lot of things I saw I would have liked (to buy), but we saved it," he said.
Finally, keeping with the theme of being fiscally wise, Ellsworth explained why he voted against cap and trade legislation. He explained it would have placed an undue burden on Indiana, as we still rely heavily on coal.
"Don't beat us up for (relying on coal). We can't do it without coal and oil right now," Ellsworth said.
He went on to explain he supports advances in nuclear, wind and solar power, but changes must come over time. He also said new oil drilling isn't out of the question, but the help we provide to oil companies has to stop.
"I'm against the subsidies to the oil companies when they are making billions in profits every quarter of every year," Ellsworth said.
Universal applause greeted this comment as, for once, everyone in the room agreed.