“I’m not in the slightest degree nervous, actually, about shedding an election. I’m nervous about successful it and regretting it for six years,” Daniels stated Wednesday after assembly with Sen. Todd Younger (R-Ind.). “I say this with nice respect for individuals who do it. However you understand, that doesn’t imply it matches me or matches me right now of my life. In order that’s what this discipline journey’s about.”
His determination will reverberate throughout the Republican Occasion, from the cities and cities of Indiana to Mar-a-Lago. Donald Trump Jr. has already attacked the extra centrist Daniels, and the previous governor leaping into the Senate race will solely immediate extra flak from the suitable. His advisers have framed a possible matchup with Banks as a battle for the soul of the Republican get together.
Retiring Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who’s working for governor, stated Daniels is sensible to suppose lengthy and arduous earlier than making the leap.
“He’s a pacesetter, a mover and shaker and received D.C. expertise,” Braun stated of the 73-year-old Daniels. “Anybody at that stage of the sport — even in case you’re feeling good — would make actually darn sure they wished to make a six-year dedication.”
As a sensible matter, Daniels disdains Washington as a possible residence or place to spend time, an element that can closely weigh on his calculus. Privately, his closest advisers say they don’t know the place he’ll land, however count on him to decide as early as this weekend.
In the meantime, they’re racing to put the groundwork for a possible marketing campaign ought to he declare — going as far as to make choices about potential employees. Daniels is an skilled Senate race hand: He once ran the Senate GOP’s marketing campaign arm.
“Mitch doesn’t want to do that,” stated Invoice Oesterle, his first marketing campaign supervisor and a detailed ally who has been involved with Daniels in current days. “He’s serious about it solely to the extent he can accomplish one thing. He’s, as all the time, doing his homework.”
Daniels is dealing with assaults from the deep-pocketed Membership for Development, which is making an attempt to maintain him out of the race in favor of Banks. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have endorsed Banks, as nicely. Requested if he’s spoken to Banks, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated on Wednesday he’s retaining his eye on the race.
However Daniels nonetheless instructions respect, even amongst these supporting Banks.
“I don’t inform anyone they will or shouldn’t run. And Mitch has an achieved profession of his personal,” Rubio stated, including that Banks has “been energetic in regards to the new-direction, new-agenda Republicanism, which I believe is essential for the way forward for our get together. And I need to see extra individuals like him right here.”
Daniels’ advisers count on him to have upwards of $50 million on the primary day of his marketing campaign. He stated Wednesday he’s not nervous about political assist: “That might care for itself, and we’re drowning in provides of assist and cash. I’ll say it once more, I’m not nervous in regards to the election, I’m nervous about successful it and deciding it was a mistake.”
Since Daniels isn’t within the race but and will finally flip down a bid, Republican senators aren’t leaping to formally endorse him but. However there are many heat emotions about him within the Senate Republican convention.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) stated he’s planning to fulfill with Banks quickly, but stated of Daniels: “I’m a giant admirer.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated, “Mitch can be terrific; I have no idea the opposite particular person in any respect.” And although Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) isn’t taking sides, he stated that Daniels may get lots carried out as a first-term senator: “It’s nice to be within the Senate.”
“Whether or not he runs for president or runs for the Senate, he’d be good for the nation,” stated Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a former governor.
A Banks-Daniels contest would quantity to a serious struggle over the path of the Senate GOP, significantly because the Republican nominee can be closely favored to win the seat being vacated by Braun. Daniels is a former White Home price range director who famously referred to as for a “truce” on the tradition wars in 2010, whereas Banks is pugnaciously conservative on social points and a number one voice on the Home’s proper flank.
Daniels additionally was scheduled to fulfill with Nationwide Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Minority Chief Mitch McConnell and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) throughout his go to. Daines has spoken to Banks as nicely.
The previous governor stated he’s going to make an announcement quickly quite than drag out the drama.
“I don’t wish to maintain individuals ready. I don’t wish to dally, so that you’ll know one thing, actually, in a really brief time,” Daniels stated. “That is the ultimate stage of my discovery course of.”
Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.