Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels acknowledged Wednesday that an impasse in the state Legislature may keep him out of the 2012 presidential race should it drag on long-term.
Daniels, a Republican, told The Associated Press that he would stay focused on state matters even if doing so means he would miss a window of opportunity to launch a possible run for the White House.
Daniels has previously said he won't decide until the legislative session ends. An ongoing standoff caused by boycotting House Democrats has the potential to cause the session to drag on past its scheduled end in late April.
"We're all about the business of Indiana and trying to move an agenda forward right now," Daniels said. "That could well get in the way of any national participation. If it does, it does."
Daniels, who was federal budget director for President George W. Bush and a top White House aide to Ronald Reagan, is still weighing whether he will run for president. He has said for months that he has made no such plans but is keeping the door open.
House Democrats fled to Illinois last week to deny the House the quorum it needs to conduct business — a move that derailed some bills pushed by Republicans. Democrats also object to some of the contentious education proposals Daniels is backing, including merit pay and restricted collective bargaining for teachers and vouchers that use taxpayer money to help parents send their children to private schools.
Daniels has blasted Democrats for leaving and says he won't be bullied into taking items off his agenda. He said he can call special legislative sessions from "now to New Year's" if needed to get votes on his agenda.
The impasse continued Wednesday with most Democrats remaining in Illinois, but House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, returned to the Statehouse to talk with House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. The discussion ended without a resolution and the boycott was expected to continue.
No major Republican candidate has formally announced for the 2012 race.