Former Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Tuesday that he will not run for the Senate in the Hoosier State, putting an end to speculation that he would enter the race amid GOP Sen. Mike Braun’s decision to run for governor.
Daniels, who served two terms as Indiana’s governor from 2005 to 2013, said in a statement that life in the Senate, as well as the necessary requirements for the job, would not be a good fit for him.
“After what I hope was adequate reflection, I’ve decided not to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate,” Daniels said. “With full credit and respect for the institution and those serving in it, I conclude that it’s just not the job for me, not the town for me, and not the life I want to live at this point.”
“I have often expressed a preference for the citizen servant approach to public life. I believe that politics and government are worthy pursuits, which men and women of good will should undertake if they can, not as a life’s work or an end in itself, but to try to ensure that the important realms of society — the private economy, our voluntary associations, local communities and neighborhoods, and especially families — can all flourish,” he added.
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Former Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday that life in Washington and the Senate is "just not the job for me."
(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Daniels’ career in politics goes back to the 1980s, when he served as the White House director of political and intergovernmental affairs in former President Reagan’s administration and later as the director of the office of management and budget in former President George W. Bush’s administration in the early 2000s.
Daniels, who just completed a 10-year tenure as the president of Purdue University, said that if he had competed in the race, he would have done so “on an explicitly one-term basis.”
“I would have returned any unspent campaign funds to their donors, closed any political accounts, and devoted six years to causes I think critical to the long-term safety and prosperity of our country,” he said. “These issues include saving the safety net programs, so that we can keep promises we have made to older and vulnerable Americans and avoid a terrible national crisis of confidence and betrayal; in so doing, to avoid crushing our economy and today’s younger citizens with the unpayable debts we are on course to leave them; to confront firmly the aggression of a would-be superpower who holds in contempt the values of personal freedom and individual dignity central to our national success and our view of a just society; to secure our borders without depriving the nation of the talent and energy that grateful immigrants can bring.”
Former President George W. Bush, right, walks with governors after speaking to the press on the war on terror April 19, 2006 at the White House in Washington, D.C.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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“Maybe I can find ways to contribute that do not involve holding elective office. If not, there is so much more to life,” he added. “People obsessed with politics or driven by personal ambition sometimes have difficulty understanding those who are neither. I hope to be understood as a citizen and patriot who thought seriously, but not tediously, about how to be deserving of those labels and simply decided the U.S. Senate was not the only way.”
Daniels’ decision now gives Indiana GOP Rep. Jim Banks some breathing room after he announced earlier this month that he would seek the position currently held by Braun.
Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana speaks at an Allen County GOP dinner, in Fort Wayne Indiana on Oct. 12, 2022.
(Rep. Jim Banks campaign)
Following Daniels’ decision, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., released a statement praising the former Indiana governor for his service. Daines also noted that he looked forward to working with Banks to “keep Indiana red in 2024.”
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“I have the utmost respect for the years of service Governor Daniels has given to Indiana and wish him well in the future,” Daines said. “I’m looking forward to working with one of our top recruits this cycle, Jim Banks, to keep Indiana red in 2024.”
Indiana was once a general election battleground state. But it’s turned reliably red in recent cycles and next year’s Republican Senate nominee will be considered the front-runner in the 2024 general election.