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Mitch Daniels has reportedly decided against running for a vacant Indiana Senate seat, skipping one of the most intensely contested primaries in the 2024 election season.
Daniels’ decision ends a months-long flirtation with a return to political politics following a tenure as president of Purdue University. And it reduces the prospect of a costly and ugly Republican primary, which would have put a Reagan-era conservative staple against a sharp-elbowed MAGA upstart in Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.)
“After what I hope was adequate reflection, I’ve decided not to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate. 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 he released to Politico.
Republicans in the Senate were hoping to avoid a heated primary for what should be a safe red seat.
Daniels was attacked as a RINO even before he announced his candidacy. With a limited statewide ad purchase criticizing his record, the deep-pocketed Club for Growth also attempted to keep him out of the campaign.
Daniels has a long and storied career in politics. After studying at Princeton University and obtaining his law degree from Georgetown University, he worked in several key positions in government and private sector, such as Chief of Staff for Senator Richard Lugar and as a top executive at Eli Lilly and Company.
In 2001, he was appointed as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.
He served in that position for the entire eight years of the Bush presidency, and was widely praised for his work on budget and fiscal issues.
After leaving government, Daniels returned to Indiana and ran for governor in the 2008 election. He won the election and served as governor of Indiana from January 2009 to January 2013.
After leaving office, Daniels became the President of Purdue University.