Bayh was born in Shirkieville, Indiana. He graduated with honors in business economics from Indiana University in 1978, and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1981. After clerking for a federal court judge and entering private law practice in Indianapolis, Indiana he was elected Indiana's Secretary of State in 1986. He served to terms as the Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.
Bayh was elected to the US Senate in 1998. Bayh serves on six Senate committees: Banking Housing and Urban Affairs, on which he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance; Armed Services; the Select Committee on Intelligence; Energy and Natural Resources; the Special Committee on Aging; and the Small Business Committee.
He serves as Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and is a member of the Senate Centrist Coalition. He helped establish the New Democrat Coalition. Bayh also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy.
He and his wife Susan have to twin sons born in 1995.