Looks like Mitch Daniels won’t be running for president, after all.
Daniels, the Indiana governor, has been flirting with the possibility of running for the Republican presidential nomination for months — partly because of the support mustered by the Yale-led Students Initiative to Draft Daniels — but said in an e-mail to supporters early Sunday he will not make a bid out of concern for his family.
“In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one,” Daniels said in the statement. “The interests and wishes of my family is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry.”
Earlier this month, Daniels spoke before a 1,100-strong Indiana GOP dinner at which his wife, Cheri Daniels was the keynote speaker, a gesture some supporters took to mean he might be becoming more receptive to public scrutiny of his family. In 1994, Cheri left her Daniels and their four daughters to marry a doctor in California; she then recanted all that and re-married Daniels in 1997.
The news comes as a disappointment to the Students Initiative, which since late last year has been pushing Daniels to run, airing two publicized advertisements on local television networks and canvassing for student support at colleges around the nation.
“I think we fought the good fight, did all we could,” said Max Eden ’11, the political action committee’s founder and executive director. “It’s a sign of great integrity that he put his family first.”
Daniels held a private reception for the Students Initiative prior to his May 12 Indiana GOP dinner address, telling the 40-strong student group they were the single most supportive factor in considering a bid for the presidency.
Still, he cautioned students at the time that his mind was far from made up on the issue and that an announcement like Sunday’s would not be unexpected.
“This is a savage, unfair process,” he said at the reception, describing the presidential campaign trail. “I might be willing to bungee jump, but this is one where you have to strap your family along with you.”
Daniels joins former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Donald Trump, the businessman and reality TV star, as potential Republican candidates who have announced in recent weeks they will not seek the party’s nomination for a tilt against President Barack Obama in 2012.