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Ex-Indiana Gov. Daniels won’t seek state’s open Senate seat

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Tuesday that he wouldn’t seek that state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year, ending weeks of speculation about whether the longtime Republican figure would enter a possibly vicious GOP primary fight with a combative defender of former President Donald Trump.

The decision by the 73-year-old Daniels comes after U.S. Rep. Jim Banks announced Jan. 17 for the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Mike Braun as he makes a 2024 run for governor.

“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 released by a longtime adviser.

Supporters of Banks had already criticized Daniels as insufficiently conservative and an “old guard Republican,” signaling a line of attack for a nasty intraparty race in the GOP-dominated state.

Daniels, once considered a presidential contender with a conservative fiscal reputation, ended eight years as governor in early 2013 with high approval ratings. He stayed in the public eye of the state for the past decade as the high-profile president of Purdue University before stepping down at the end of December.

The decision by Daniels leaves Banks as the only declared candidate some 15 months ahead of Indiana’s 2024 primary.

The Indiana Democratic Party released a statement following Daniels’ announcement:

“It looks like Mitch Daniels won’t turn back the clocks and re-enter Hoosier politics.
His 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.

The fact is Indiana has an F rated quality-of-life for families, a D- rated workforce for workers (thanks, ‘Right to Work’), a C- rated education system for students, the third worst maternal mortality rate, and the most polluted waterways in the nation – and it all started with Mitch Daniels.

Hoosiers deserve honest leadership that will put an end to extremist politics and chart a new course for a modern and better Indiana where everyone has the freedom to thrive. Indiana Democrats remain focused on running strong candidates who will fight for Hoosier families, students, workers, and seniors.

Mitch Daniels can finally ride his motorcycle into the sunset and leave us all alone.”

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