INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A powerful national conservative group is trying to stop Mitch Daniels campaign for U.S. Senate before it even begins.
Club for Growth Action is set to begin airing television ads in Indiana calling Daniels “Wrong for Senate.”
In the 60-second ad, Club for Growth labels Daniels as “an old guard Republican clinging to the old ways of the bad old days.”
“After 50 years of big government, big pharma and big academia, Mitch Daniels forgot how to fight” the ad goes on to say.”
Club for Growth Action President David McIntosh, who represented Indiana in the U.S. House from 1995-2000 and ran for governor of Indiana in 2000, compares Daniels’ potential bid to Pat McCrory’s failed bid for the GOP Senate nomination in North Carolina in 2022.
McCrory, considered a moderate, lost the primary by 34 percentage points to Rep. Ted Budd, who received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.
“As even Mitch Daniels admits, his brand of Republicanism is out of date,” McIntosh told News 8. “Hoosiers need new leadership to tackle the problems that Mitch and other moderates created over 50 years. Daniels will be this cycle’s Pat McCrory if he decides to run, and Club for Growth Action will spend whatever it takes to ensure voters know his real record.”
Daniels retired as Purdue University president at the end of 2022, and has been considering a run for Senate in 2024 to replace Sen. Mike Braun. Braun is giving up the seat to run for Indiana governor.
Daniels served as director of Office of Management and Budget for then-Pres. George W. Bush, then two terms as Indiana governor before deciding against a campaign for president in 2012.
Two Indiana Republicans in the U.S. House have publicly announced they are considering running for the seat: Rep. Victoria Spartz and Rep. Jim Banks.
Both Spartz and Banks have said they expect to make their decisions soon.
A poll released in December by Bellwether Research, which worked with Daniels gubernatorial campaigns, showed Daniels easily leading the Senate field, if he were to enter the race.
When asked about the Senate race with Daniels as a candidate, 32% of those asked supported him, followed by Banks at 10%, former U.S. Rep Trey Hollingsworth with 9%, and Spartz with 7%.
Without Daniels, current Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita led the field with 16%, followed by Banks and Spartz, with 39% “unsure.”
Daniels has not publicly said when he might decide on a possible campaign.