By TOM DAVIES
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.
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