Senator Mitt Romney (Ut.) is reaching at another chance to repudiate Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican party, joining Democrats with a pre-emptive endorsement of moderate Mitch Daniels in Indiana’s 2024 Senate race.
Daniels, a former Republican governor of Indiana, hasn’t said yet whether he will run.
But Romney is making his own feelings on the subject clear, calling the moderate a “terrific candidate” to succeed Indiana senator Mike Braun (R).
Romney shows his colors…again
Daniels once famously called for a “truce” on the culture war, a view that puts him out of step with a new generation of more aggressive conservatives — and on the same page as Romney, who has often prided himself for a “bi-partisan” streak.
As he often did during the Trump presidency, Romney is finding common ground with Democrats, like Senator John Hickenlooper (Co.), who called Daniels “someone who is driven by a desire — almost a need — to serve.”
“He’s a talented manager, obviously a very successful governor, but he also is a visionary and is capable of bringing people together and building these constituencies around specific issues, which is what this building is all about.”
Battle for GOP
If Daniels does run, he would be facing off with Trump-allied Rep. Jim Banks (R-In.) — teeing up another battle in the ongoing war for the party’s future between Trump’s MAGA movement and more traditional Republicans like Romney.
Daniels has also received praise from moderate Republicans like John Cornyn (Tx.), who called himself a “big admirer,” and Susan Collins (Me.), who called Daniels “terrific.”
Already, Daniels is facing attacks from groups like the Club for Growth PAC, which released an ad describing him as an “old guard Republican.”
The “old guard” has felt emboldened since the collapse of the “red wave” in the midterm elections, which many pundits have blamed on a backlash against Trump and the “far-right.”
Will Daniels run?
Daniels went to Washington this week to feel things out and meet with Republican senators.
“I’m not the least bit worried, honestly, about losing an election. I’m worried about winning it and regretting it for six years,” Daniels said.
“I say this with great respect for those who do it. But you know, that doesn’t mean it fits me or fits me at this time of my life. So that’s what this field trip’s about.”
Daniels says he will make a decision “shortly.”