Mitch Daniels’ decision to oppose the 2024 Indiana Senate bid ends the possibility of a high-stakes Republican primary between the popular former governor and Trump World, which has backed Rep. Jim Banks .
In a statement, Daniels said he decided “it wasn’t right for my job, it wasn’t right for my town, and it wasn’t the life I wanted to live at this time.”
Daniels, 73, who recently retired as president of Purdue University, is considering a run for governor in 2024 over Sen. Mike Braun. He visited Washington last week, meeting with several senators while weighing a return to politics.
He said he considered campaigning “clearly on a one-term basis” and hoped “to make it disgusting not just to millions of Americans, but in a way that might soften the harsh and personal vitriol that has infected our public square.” , but also fail to act effectively to counter our threats and seize our opportunities.”
“Maybe I can find ways to contribute that don’t involve holding elected office. If not, there’s plenty more to life,” Daniels said in the statement. “People who are obsessed with politics or driven by personal ambition sometimes have a hard time understanding people who are neither. I want to be understood as a citizen and patriot who thinks seriously but not tediously about how to deserve those labels, and simply I strongly believe that the U.S. Senate is not the only way out.”
Banks, a Trump-aligned conservative from northeastern Indiana, has entered the Senate race. The Growth Club released a pre-emptive ad attacking Daniels, 73, as an “old guard Republican” who “has stopped fighting.”
Allies of Daniels have already begun preparing for an initial showdown with Banks. A person close to Daniels said the potential race would focus conservatives on winning the election and achieving policy goals, drawing comparisons to Trump-style “cons” who are “howling at the moon.” Prosperous business” and put the Republicans back in trouble. process.
Still, Daniels said he can’t shake the feeling he’s not fit for legislative office.
“My one stint in elected office involved, like those in business before and in academia afterward, a work of action, at least a daily opportunity to do something useful,” Daniels said. “I never Thought I would be a good fit for the legislature, especially as seniority remains an important factor in one’s effectiveness, and I haven’t seen anything in my recent explorations to change that opinion.”
His decision means less turmoil for Republicans in deep red states. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee, said the party’s Senate campaign arm would support Banks for the seat.
“I have the utmost respect for Governor Daniels’ service to Indiana over the years and wish him all the best for the future. I look forward to working with one of our top recruits this cycle, Jim Banks, to get Indiana in 2024.” Years remain red,” he said in a statement.
Daniels began his political career on the staff of former Senator Richard Lugar — first as mayor of Indianapolis and then as a senator. He served as Lugar’s chief of staff in Washington in the 1970s and 1980s, led Lugar’s political operations, and served as executive director of the NRSC during the 1984 election cycle.
He left Washington to become a senior executive at Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company, but returned to politics in the early 2000s as director of former President George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget.
Elected governor in 2004 and 2008, he was a dominant figure in Indiana politics at the time – presiding over a Republican government and a rapid period of education reform, budget cuts and diminished union power.
He was widely considered a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 but chose not to run due to family concerns.
Instead, when Daniels left, he was named Purdue president — a position he held for 10 years before leaving late last year. During that time, he largely avoided commenting on political issues.
Still, Daniels has cast a pall over Indiana politics. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was elected governor of Indiana after Daniels, took a more cautious approach to office, struggling to gain the kind of clout Daniels had until Pence was named Trump’s in 2016. running mate. The current governor of Indiana, Republican Eric Holcomb, was Daniels’ political right-hand man during his tenure as governor.