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Tipsheet

Mitch Daniels Is Out, While Jim Banks Continues to Earn Endorsements in Senate Race

Reddit via u/m377y

After weeks of chatter, former Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) announced on Tuesday morning that he would not be running to replace retiring Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who is now running for governor. Daniels, considered something of an establishment candidate and a RINO, sent in a statement exclusively to POLITICO.

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According to Adam Wren, who has been reporting on the race for the past several weeks:

In an exclusive statement to POLITICO, the former Indiana governor and Purdue University president said he concluded the Senate run to replace retiring Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) wasn’t the right fit for him at this stage of his career.

“After what I hope was adequate reflection, I’ve decided not to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate,” Daniels told POLITICO. “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.”

“Maybe I can find ways to contribute that do not involve holding elective office. If not, there is so much more to life,” Daniels added. “People obsessed with politics or driven by personal ambition sometimes have difficulty understanding those who are neither.”

Previous reports had emphasized Daniels' concern with the commitment of serving a full six-year term. The former governor is 73-years-old, while Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who declared his candidacy earlier this month, is 43-years-old. 

Wren's report does mention though that Daniels considered signing a pledge to serve just one term:

Daniels said he had considered running on a pledge to serve just one six-year term.

“I would have returned any unspent campaign funds to their donors, closed any political accounts, and devoted six years to causes I think critical to the long-term safety and prosperity of our country,” he said.

In his statement, Daniels said he would have focused on safety net programs, national security in the face of a “would-be superpower” in China and securing the border without foreclosing on broader immigration reform.

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Missing from that statement in Wren's report, not surprisingly, is any mention of social issues. Daniels had said in an interview with Christianity Today from more than a decade ago that he wanted a "truce" on those issues. Age is not the only way in which Daniels and Banks stand in stark contrast to each other. Rep. Banks, however, in his campaign video, touched upon a variety of topics, including China and the border as Daniels did, but also on protecting unborn life and women and girls' sports. 

Banks commented on Daniels' announcement in a statement for Townhall. "As I’ve said before, I respect Governor Daniels and I learned a lot from him when I served in the Statehouse. I’m excited about the early momentum and support for our campaign but we’ve got a long way to go. Over the next two years, I’m going to work hard every day to make my case to Hoosier voters that I’m best prepared to be their conservative Senator in Washington," Banks said. 

Tuesday morning continued to get even better for Banks, as his campaign also announced an endorsement from Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH). 

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"We need more leadership in Washington like Jim Banks. Jim puts the interests of our own country first, like working to secure our border from illegal immigration and illicit drugs and fentanyl, standing up against Big Tech censorship and fighting for America First trade policies that support working families with job creation right here at home. Jim Banks will be the conservative force against Joe Biden’s woke, inflationary agenda that wants to make mass amnesty a grim reality, make our communities less safe and harder for middle and working class families to put food on the table," Vance said about his endorsement, highlighting Banks' priorities. "Jim is a product of the American Dream, like me. He represents the new wave of young conservative leadership of the Republican Party, and I look forward to working with him in the U.S. Senate."

With Daniels out of the race, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), who serves as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), released a statement already throwing the NRSC's support behind Banks. Daines had spoken with both Daniels and Banks beforehand. 

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"Mitch Daniels" and "Jim Banks" have been trending on Twitter as a result of the news.

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