Mitch Daniels decides not to run for U.S. Senate

Mitch Daniels

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who just completed a 10-year stint as Purdue University president, said Tuesday he will not run for the U.S. Senate, ending speculation that he would jump into the 2024 race after sitting Sen. Mike Braun decided to run for governor.

Daniels, a Republican who worked in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, said in a statement that he made the decision after “what I hope was adequate reflection.”

“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,” he said.

CLICK to read Mitch Daniels’ full statement.

Daniels released the statement after a trip to Washington, D.C., in which he reportedly discussed the possibility with party leaders and the job with other senators. It also comes after the conservative group Club for Growth, which supports U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican who has already announced his Senate candidacy, launched a preemptive attack of Daniels, calling him an “old guard Republican.”

But Daniels said his decision was based in part on the fact that he “never imagined that I would be well-suited to legislative office, particularly where seniority remains a significant factor in one’s effectiveness, and I saw nothing in my recent explorations that altered that view.”

Daniels’ supporters had also urged him to consider a third run for governor.

“Maybe I can find ways to contribute that do not involve holding elective office,” he said. “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. 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.”

Indiana Democrats responded to the news with a statement from Chair Mike Schmuhl that Daniels’ “announcement today shows that there’s little room in today’s Indiana Republican Party for candidates who don’t pledge allegiance to Donald Trump before anything else.

“Daniel’s ‘no social issues’ mantra would have had a tough time winning a GOP primary in Indiana and the knives were already drawn from groups saying that Daniels was a relic of the past.”

No Democrats have announced an intention to seek the Senate seat.

Banks, who represents Indiana’s 3rd District in the House, announced earlier this month that he would seek the Republican nomination. That follows Braun’s announcement in November that he would run for governor.

“One thing is clear to me and that’s that Hoosiers deserve a conservative fighter in the Senate,” Banks told the Indiana Capital Chronicle when he announced his Senate candidacy. “And Mike Braun has been a consistent conservative and we should have a conservative replace Mike Braun and I want to be that conservative leader, that conservative fighter.”

National Republican Senate Committee Chair Steve Daines said in a statement Tuesday that he has “utmost respect for the years of service Gov. Daniels has given to Indiana and wish him well in the future.”

Although other Republicans—including Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-5th District—are also said to be considering a run, Danies’ statement seemed to indicate the party’s preference for Banks.

“I’m looking forward to working with one of our top recruits this cycle, Jim Banks, to keep Indiana red in 2024,” he said.

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19 thoughts on “Mitch Daniels decides not to run for U.S. Senate

  1. Great people make great decisions. Many of us did not always agree with Governor Daniels on every decision he made. But none can argue that what he did was what he truly believed was for the betterment of our state, our country and our State schools. And not to further his political ambitions and life.

  2. Too bad as “My Man Mitch” has generally been a breath of fresh air to any institution he lead… by thinking outside the box and implementing policies that benefitted his constituents. As opposed to some of the leadership we have today on both sides of the aisle, he’s smart, humble and has conviction.

    1. Smart, humble and has conviction: Certainly means there’s no place in Washington for him. Wise call on Mitch’s part.

  3. I can’t blame him, running for office sounds like a horrible time right now.

    I will remember that dirty pro-Jim Banks group ran attack ads against Mitch though. An unforced error from a disgusting organization. While I will be disappointed that I can’t vote for Mitch, it’s an easy choice for me who NOT to vote for.

    1. I have never voted for a Democrat but will not cast a vote for Jim Banks.

      The Club for Growth, and people like David McIntosh and Jim Banks are contributors to the divisiveness in politics. It is disappointing that these groups and individuals, who have never had a real job, tear down demonstrated leaders. This reminds me of Richard Murdock taking out Richard Lugar. How did that work out?

      Indiana, and the country, have lost the opportunity to have an innovative, thoughtful, and respected leader.

  4. It is no surprise that a practical man would conclude he would not fit well into the current form of the Republican Party . It has become a cult of egotistical personalities vying for the blessing of the cult leader Donald TRUMP who demands one way loyalty to himself. The only contest in that party is from those who want to replace him as the cult leader.
    As for Jim Banks he has declared his fidelity to Donald TRUMP several times . He would not and could not serve all of the people of Indiana .

    1. Jim Banks = Trump sycophant. Banks will lead to division at a time when the divisiveness needs to be put to rest. David McIntosh is also an agent of divisiveness.

  5. Mitch Daniels has a great deal to offer & undoubtedly is better suited than anyone else to determine the next chapter for continuing his pragmatic & unparalleled contributions. Looking forward to the opportunity of supporting his next initiative.

    1. Charles B. Washington is a cult (cesspool) of egotistical personalities on both sides of the aisle even without Trump factored in.

  6. Anyone who thinks he would have a tough time winning is living under a rock. He was definitely one of the best Governors the state has ever had, has done great things at Purdue and could have run for President easily. I agree with Jeff C. I also look forward to supporting his next initiative.

  7. Let there be no mistake, there is a new paradigm among Republicans: extreme right-wing fringe politics that embraces policies that even Ronald Reagan would repudiate today.

    Among those that Mitch met with in DC to discuss a potential run was Sen, Steve Daines, chairman of the money-raising arm for the GOP on the Senate side. Daines’ statement that he has “utmost respect for the years of service Gov. Daniels has given to Indiana and wish him well in the future” was not an honest one. If you look into his record on various public policies, he is aligned with the libertarian wing of the party which makes him a natural ally and booster for someone like Jim Banks.

    Daines, like many in the Senate Republican caucus, are repulsed by Mitch’s history and pragmatic, problem-solving approach to public policy. Simply put, there is no room for Mitch in this version of the party. And that does not bode well for our state or our nation.

    1. I’m curious as to which policies the Republicans have advanced over the last 4 or 5 years you think qualify as extreme?

    2. David, let’s start with the elephant in the room: outlaw a woman’s right to choose when a majority of America support the right to choose. Once you recognize the ban against abortions even when the mother’s life is at risk, I can give you more examples.

  8. I’ve met Mitch on a few occasions and other family members. Although I don’t agree with him on every issue, he is an honorable person who seems to still believe in building relationships between parties and making meaningful ‘win-win’ situations for both Democrats and Republicans. The zero-sum, winner take all mindset of both Braun, Banks, and Young has gotta stop. We need more Centrist, business & education minded civic leaders and no more of the culture wars BS that truly polarizes our society and doesn’t get stuff done. I was hoping Daniels would run and breath new life to the novel idea of “working together” and “compromise” in legislation.

    1. I will not support Mike Braun’s run for governor. Instead, I will actively support a more qualified and less divisive candidate.

  9. What a loss but not unexpected. Who would want to submerge themselves in the cesspit that is DC right now. I hope Mitch finds something he can do to help Indiana and make a difference. He certainly has the leadership skills for that.