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

Former Indiana governor and Purdue President Mitch Daniels, in a closeup photo. Daniels is a White man, balding with gray hair.
Ben Thorp
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced he will not run for U.S. Senate in 2024. In a statement, Daniels said, "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."

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels will not run for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2024.

Daniels announced his decision in a statement Tuesday.

The Senate seat opened up when incumbent Mike Braun announced he would run for governor instead in 2024.

Rumors had circled Daniels for weeks. And the former Purdue University president recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Senate Republican leaders.

But Daniels said a term in the Senate is not the life he wants to live.

“I have 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 said in a statement.

READ MORE: After stepping down as president, Mitch Daniels won’t be leaving Purdue “for the foreseeable future”

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Further explaining his decision, Daniels said he would only have run for one term, focused on entitlement reform, confronting "the aggression of a would-be superpower," and immigration reform and border security.

"Maybe I can find ways to contribute that do not involve holding elective office," Daniels said in a statement. "If not, there is so much more to life."

Outside political groups were already preparing for a Daniels run. Club For Growth, which bills itself as an economic conservative organization, recently put out a vicious attack ad against Daniels, seeking to derail his bid before it began.

The only Republican who’s officially announced a Senate bid is U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City).

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.