Former Gov. Mitch Daniels Decides Against Senate Run

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Former Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will not run for the state’s open Senate seat in 2024, he said Tuesday.

“After what I hope was adequate reflection, I’ve decided not to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate,” Daniels told Politico. “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 served as governor of Indiana from 2005-13, earning the nickname “The Blade” for his fiscal discipline. He also served in the Bush White House and as president of Purdue University. Daniels met with top Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, while considering a bid.

“Maybe I can find ways to contribute that do not involve holding elective office. If not, there is so much more to life. People obsessed with politics or driven by personal ambition sometimes have difficulty understanding those who are neither.”

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks is the only Republican to declare a bid in the race to succeed GOP Sen. Mike Braun, who is running for governor. Several other candidates are mulling runs, including Rep. Victoria Spartz and former Rep. Trey Hollingsworth. (RELATED: Sen. Braun To Run For Governor Of Indiana, Leaving Senate Seat Open In 2024)

The Club for Growth endorsed Banks. The group’s Super PAC released an ad saying that Daniels, who was the CEO of Eli Lilly before entering politics, “forgot how to fight… after 50 years in big government, big pharma, and big academia.”

A poll of 500 likely Indiana primary voters released by Spartz in December showed Daniels with 35% support, followed by Spartz and Banks with 14% each. The poll was conducted before Banks announced his candidacy.

Indiana’s seat is considered to be safe Republican, with the last state-wide elected Democrat losing office in 2018.