Supporters of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels were disappointed when he announced May 22 that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president.
Daniels, who will finish his second term as governor next year, attributed his decision to concerns about his family’s privacy.
The pronouncement ended months of intense speculation about whether Daniels would run. Many supporters perceived Daniels’ fiscal savvy as a strong selling point in the midst of a weak national economy. Daniels served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush, and during his tenure as governor, Indiana’s budget has remained in balance, unlike those of some states.
In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee this winter, Daniels characterized the national deficit as a “red menace” that threatens the nation’s future stability. But his position on social issues, including comments in The Weekly Standard that the next president should declare a truce on them until economic problems are resolved, rankled more socially conservative members of the Republican base.
Daniels’ departure from the pool of potential candidates shook up the GOP field, and some experts said it would provide an opening to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and others who would benefit from the loss of a fiscal hawk in the field.
It also sparked several questions about Daniels’ next move after leaving the Governor’s Office at the end of 2012. He said he hasn’t closed the door on opportunities such as serving as a presidential running mate or in a Cabinet position, should the possibility present itself. But he has not revealed specific plans.•