Mitch Daniels, former Indiana governor, says he'll skip 2024 Senate run
Washington — Mitch Daniels, the former Republican governor of Indiana and president of Purdue University, announced Tuesday that he will not pursue a run for the Senate, saying the job of U.S. senator is not the right one for him at this time in his life.
"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," Daniels said in a statement first reported by Politico.
Daniels' decision not to mount a bid for the Senate brings to a close speculation as to whether his political future would include a 2024 Republican primary fight and eliminates a major competitor for Rep. Jim Banks. Banks, elected to the House in 2016, announced earlier this month he would run for the Senate.
Banks has racked up endorsements from Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and J.D. Vance of Ohio in the race to succeed GOP Sen. Mike Braun, who is running for governor. The Club for Growth Action, a conservative super PAC, had already pledged to oppose Daniels if he decided to run and spend at least $10 million against him, arguing he is too moderate and would become "this cycle's Pat McCrory" if he chose to run.
McCrory was the former North Carolina governor the group attacked during the Senate GOP primary in North Carolina in 2022. Club for Growth Action had already aired a 60-second attack ad targeting Daniels.
Sen. Steve Daines, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, extended Daniels well wishes in response to his announcement and effectively threw the group's support behind Banks. The committee did not get involved in primaries during the 2022 election cycle.
"I'm looking forward to working with one of our top recruits this cycle, Jim Banks, to keep Indiana red in 2024," Daines, a Montana senator, said.
Daniels was on Capitol Hill last week to meet with senators and learn more about the post, according to Politico.
In his statement, Daniels said he did not view himself as someone "well-suited to legislative office," and added that he saw "nothing" in his "recent explorations that altered that view. "
"Maybe I can find ways to contribute that do not involve holding elective office. If not, there is so much more to life," he said. "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, 73, said that if he had chosen to run for the Senate, he would have served a single term, returned unspent campaign funds to donors, closed political accounts and devoted his six years in the Senate "to causes I think critical to the long-term safety and prosperity of our country."
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