Mitch Daniels Won't Run in 2012

Remaining candidates benefit, but the GOP looks for new options

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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced in an email early Sunday morning that he would not be a Republican candidate for president in 2012, the New York Times reports. He cited family concerns as the main reason. According to the Wall Street Journal, Daniels "had often expressed concerns about the strains a national campaign would put on his wife and four adult daughters."

“In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one,” Daniels wrote. “The interests and wishes of my family is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry.”

A weakening GOP field. It's win some, lose some within the Republican candidate field lately. Yesterday Herman Cain made his bid official, and Pawlenty is set to announces his candidacy on Monday. But Huckabee dropped out a week ago, and Trump, for those who thought he would run, left the fray a day later.

But the GOP candidacy flux may not be coming out net positive. Daniel's decision was "a crushing blow to admirers who had rallied around the idea of a Daniels candidacy, including more than 1,000 Republicans who filled a hotel ballroom in Indianapolis last week," writes the Times. Republican insiders are "gearing up to face President Obama with the weakest primary field in recent memory," according to Politico.

Anyone else? Politico posits that GOP donors will not accept the field for what it is just yet, and "will surely attempt to convince one of the would-be candidates who’ve already rebuffed entreaties to reconsider." Jeb Bush and Chris Christie will most likely feel the brunt of this, although both have staunchly maintained they will not run.

But don't be surprised if the field get's some new blood. Weekly Standard editor William Kristol speculated that the race could “remain open and fluid until Thanksgiving.”

Pawlenty and Huntsman have the most to gain. Daniels' decision to stay out of the race could "elevate the prospects for Mr. Pawlenty," writes the Times, in his quest to to become the "leading alternative to Mitt Romney." As Politico notes, without Daniels, Pawlenty "can appeal to the full spectrum of the Republican Party’s social conservatives, tea party activists and regular committee types in a way that Romney and Huntsman, because of their past apostasies, cannot."

Huntsman likewise should get a bump. He’ll "benefit from not having Daniels claim some of the anti-Mitt crowd," Politico suggests, and, should he use his personal wealth, he may be the only one to keep up with Romney on fundraising.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.