Mitch Daniels

Mitch Daniels
Mitch Daniels
Photo of Mitch Daniels
49th Governor of Indiana
Assumed office
January 10, 2005
Lieutenant Becky Skillman
Preceded by Joseph Kernan
33rd Director of the Office of Management and Budget
In office
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Jacob Lew
Succeeded by Joshua Bolten
Personal details
Born Mitchell Elias Daniels, Jr.
April 7, 1949 (1949-04-07) (age 62)
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cheri Herman, 1978–1993, 1997–present
Residence Governor's Residence
Alma mater Princeton University
Georgetown University
Profession Politician
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Governor's website
Campaign website

Mitchell Elias "Mitch" Daniels, Jr. (born April 7, 1949) is the 49th and current Governor of the U.S. state of Indiana. A Republican, he began his first four-year term as governor on January 10, 2005, and was elected to his second term by an 18-point margin on November 4, 2008. Previously, he was the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush. He was formerly Senior Vice President of Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana's largest corporation, where he was in charge of the corporation's business strategy. He is cited as a rising star in the Republican Party, and was widely speculated[1][2][3] to be a candidate for President of the United States in 2012 before choosing not to run.[4]

During his first year in office, he proposed a number of controversial plans to balance the state's $24 billion budget through tax increases, budget cuts, and privatization plans. A proposed 1-year, 1% tax increase on people making over $100,000 was not brought to the legislature, but his other budget austerity measures were and they were passed. Spending was reduced by $440 million through budget cuts and privatization plans, and the annual budget growth was cut to 2.8% from the previous 5.9%.

Support for a switch to daylight saving time, the privatization of the Indiana Toll Road, and the closure of many license branches brought him into conflict with Democrats; and, in 2005, his approval ratings dropped to a low of 42%. In 2007, he began pressing for constitutional changes to cap state property taxes at 1–3% of value. The caps were approved by the Indiana General Assembly as statute the same year, and added to the state constitution by a 2008 ballot measure. His support for the property tax limits, and its subsequent adoption, helped raise his popularity and secure his re-election bid.

His second term saw a large drop in state revenues, leading to major spending cuts to maintain a balanced budget. He was aided in passing the agenda by the election of a large Republican majority to both houses of the Indiana General Assembly in 2010. In an attempt to block his agenda, the Democratic minority in the Indiana House of Representatives staged a legislative walkout for several weeks, preventing the passage of any legislation. After the return of the minority, most of Daniels' backed agenda was passed; education reform bills were enacted, creating a statewide school voucher program, restricting collective bargaining rights for teachers, and instituting a merit pay system for public school personnel. Immigrations laws penalizing companies who employed undocumented workers and denied in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants was enacted. A stronger abortion regulation law was enacted that outlawed abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy, state funding was withdrawn from all healthcare providers that offered abortion services, and the corporate income tax rate was lowered.


Early life

Family and education

Mitchell Elias Daniels, Jr., was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Mae (née Wilkes) and Mitchell Elias Daniels, Sr.[5] His paternal grandparents were Christian immigrants from Syria. Daniels has been honored by the Arab-American Institute with the 2011 Najeeb Halaby Award for Public Service.[6][7][8] Daniels spent his early childhood years in Pennsylvania, near Bristol, Tennessee,[9] and Georgia. The Daniels family moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania in 1959 when his father accepted a job at the Indianapolis headquarters of the pharmaceutical company Pittman-Moore. Then 11-year-old Daniels was accustomed to the mountains, and he at first disliked the flatland of central Indiana. He was still in grade school at the time of the move and first attended Delaware Trail Elementary, Westlane Junior High School, and North Central High School. In high school he was student body president.[10] After graduation in 1967, Daniels was named one of Indiana's Presidential Scholars—the state’s top male high school graduate that year—by President Lyndon Johnson.[11]

Daniels toured several northeastern universities, including Yale and Dartmouth College, finally choosing Princeton University because he preferred the campus.[10] In 1971, Daniels earned a Bachelor's degree with Honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. His high grades allowed him to gain entry to Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned a Juris Doctor with Honors.[7]

In 1970, while an undergraduate student at Princeton, he and two roommates were arrested for possession of marijuana, LSD, and illicit prescription drugs.[12] He spent two nights in jail.[13] In a plea bargain, he pled guilty to "maintaining a common nuisance" and was fined $350.[12] Daniels told The Daily Princetonian in 2011 that "justice was served,"[14] and has disclosed the arrest on job applications, and spoke about the incident in columns in The Indianapolis Star[15] and The Washington Post.[16]

Early political career

Daniels had his first experience in politics while still a teenager when, in 1968, he worked on the unsuccessful campaign of fellow Hoosier and Princeton alumnus William Ruckelshaus, who was running for the U.S. Senate.[10] After the campaign Ruckelshaus helped Daniels secure an internship in the office of then–Indianapolis mayor Richard Lugar. In 1971, Daniels worked on Lugar's re-election campaign and then joined his mayoral staff. Within three years, he became Lugar's principal assistant. After Lugar was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976, Daniels followed him to Washington, D.C. as his Chief of Staff.[15]

Daniels served as Chief of Staff during Lugar's first term (1977–82); and, during this time, he met Cheri Herman, who was working for the National Park Service. The two married in 1978 and had four daughters. They divorced in 1993 and Cheri married again; Cheri later divorced her second husband and remarried Daniels in 1997.[7]

In 1983, when Lugar was elected Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Daniels was appointed its Executive Director. Serving in that position (1983–84), he played a major role in keeping the GOP in control of the Senate. Daniels was also manager of three successful re-election campaigns for Lugar. In August 1985, Daniels became chief political advisor and liaison to President Ronald Reagan.[15]

In 1987, Daniels returned to Indiana as President and CEO of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank.[7][17] In 1988, Dan Quayle was elected Vice President of the United States, and Governor of Indiana Robert D. Orr offered to appoint Daniels to Quayle's vacant Senate seat, but Daniels declined, fearing it would force him to spend too much time away from his family.[10]

Eli Lilly

In 1990, Daniels left the Hudson Institute to accept a position at Eli Lilly and Company, the largest corporation headquartered in Indiana at that time.[18] He was first promoted to President of North American Operations (1993–97) and then to Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Policy (1997–2001).[6][7][15] During his time at Lilly, Daniels managed a successful strategy to deflect attacks on Lilly's Prozac product by a public relations campaign against the drug being waged by the Church of Scientology. In one interview in 1992, Daniels said of the organization that "it is no church," and that people on Prozac were less likely to become victims of the Church. The Church responded by suing Daniels in a libel suit for $20 million. A judge dismissed the case.[19]

Eli Lilly experienced dramatic growth during Daniels' tenure at the company. Prozac sales made up 30–40% of Lilly's income during the mid to late 1990s, and Lilly doubled its assets to $12.8 billion and doubled its revenue to $10 billion during the same period. When Daniels later became Governor of Indiana, he drew heavily on his former Lilly colleagues to serve as advisers and agency mangers.[20]

During the same period, Daniels also served on the board of directors of the Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL). He resigned from the IPL Board in 2001 to join the federal government, and sold his IPL stock for $1.45 million. Later that year the value declined when Virginia-based AES Corporation bought IPL.[6] The Indiana Securities Division subsequently investigated the sale and found no wrongdoing, but opponents brought up the sale and questioned it during his later election campaign.[19]

Office of Management and Budget

Daniels as OMB Director, 2003.

In January 2001, Daniels accepted President George W. Bush's invitation to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He served as Director from January 2001 through June 2003. In this role he was also a member of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

During his time as the director of the OMB, Bush referred to him as "the Blade," for his noted acumen at budget cutting.[21] The $2.13 trillion budget Daniels submitted to Congress in 2001 would have made deep cuts in many agencies to accommodate the tax cuts being made, but few of the spending cuts were actually approved by Congress.[10] During Daniels' 29-month tenure in the position, the projected federal budget surplus of $236 billion declined to a $400 billion deficit, due an economic downturn, and failure to enact spending cuts to offset the tax reductions.[15]

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has stated that Daniels "carried water, as director of the Office of Management and Budget, for some of the Bush administration’s more egregious budgets [and...] made dubious public arguments in support of his boss’s agenda." [22] Daniels was responsible for estimating the cost of the invasion of Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom. The operation was estimated to last six months, and did not include a projection of the long-term cost of maintaining a military presence in the region after its immediate occupation.[23] In 2002, Assistant to the President on Economic Policy Lawrence B. Lindsey estimated the cost at between $100–$200 billion, much higher than Daniels' estimate. Daniels called Lindsey's estimate "very, very high" and stated that the costs would be between $50–$60 billion.[24] President Bush ultimately requested $75 billion to finance the operation during the fiscal year, and according to a 2010 Congressional Research Service report, the first fiscal year of the war cost $51 billion.[25] The failure to provide long term cost estimates led opponents to claim that Daniels and the administration had suggested the entire war would cost less $60 billion.[22][23]


Election campaign

Mitch Daniels during Indianapolis Navy Week in August 2006

Daniels' decision to run for Governor of Indiana led to most of the rest of Republican field of candidates to drop out of the race. The only challenger who did not do so was conservative activist and lobbyist Eric Miller. Miller worked for the Phoenix Group, a Christian rights defense group. Daniels' campaign platform centered around cutting the State budget and privatizing public agencies. He won the primary with 67% of the vote.[26]

While campaigning in the General Election, Daniels visited all 92 Counties at least three times. He traveled in a donated white RV nicknamed "RV-1" and covered with signatures of supporters and his campaign slogan, "My Man Mitch."[27] "My Man Mitch" was a reference to a phrase once used by President George W. Bush to refer to Daniels. Bush campaigned with Daniels on two occasions, as Daniels hoped that Bush's popularity would help him secure a win. In his many public stops, he frequently used the phrase "every garden needs weeding every sixteen years or so"; 16 was the number of years since Indiana had had a Republican governor.[26] His opponent in the general election was the incumbent, Joe Kernan, who had succeeded to the office upon the death of Frank O'Bannon. Campaign ads by Kernan and the Democratic Party attempted to tie Daniels to number of issues—his jail time for marijuana use; a stock sale leading to speculations of insider trading; and, because of his role at Eli Lilly, the high cost of prescription drugs.[27] The 2004 election was the costliest in Indiana history, up until that time, with the candidates spending a combined US$23 million.[26] Daniels won the election, garnering about 53% of the vote compared to Kernan's 46%.[26] Kernan was the first incumbent Governor to lose an election in Indiana since 1894.[26]

First term

On his first day in office, Daniels created Indiana's first Office of Management and Budget to look for inefficiencies and cost savings throughout state government. The same day, he decertified all government employee unions by executive order, removing the requirement that state employees pay union dues by rescinding a mandate created by Governor Evan Bayh in a 1989 executive order. Dues-paying union membership subsequently dropped 90% among state employees.[28][29]

Budgetary measures

In his first State of the State address on January 18, 2005, Daniels put forward his agenda to improve the State's fiscal situation. Indiana has a biennial budget, and had a projected two year deficit of $800 million. Daniels called for strict controls on all spending increases, and reducing the annual growth rate of the budget. He also proposed a one-year 1% tax increase on all individuals and entities earning over $100,000. The taxing proposal was controversial and the Republican Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma, criticized Daniels and refused to allow the proposal to be debated.[26][30]

The General Assembly approved $250 million in spending cuts and Daniels renegotiated 30 different state contracts for a savings of $190 million, resulting in a budget of $23 billion. Annual spending growth for future budgets was cut to 2.8% from the 5.9% that had been standard for many years.[30][31] Increase in revenues, coupled with the spending reductions, led to a $300 million budget surplus. Indiana is not permitted to take loans, as borrowing was prohibited in its constitution following the 1837 state bankruptcy. The state, therefore, had financed its deficit spending by reallocating $760 million in revenue that belonged to local government and school districts over the course of many years. The funds were gradually and fully restored to the municipal governments using the surplus money, and the state reserve fund was was grown to $1.3 billion.[31]

Two of Daniels' other tax proposals were approved: a tax on liquor and beverages to fund the construction of the Lucas Oil Stadium and a tax on rental cars to expand the Indiana Convention Center. The new source of funding resulted in a state take-over of a project initially started by the City of Indianapolis and led to a bitter feud between Daniels and the city leadership over who should have ownership of the project. The state ultimately won and took ownership of the facilities from the city.[32]

The entrance to the governor's office

One of the most controversial measures Daniels successfully pushed through was the state adoption of Daylight Saving Time, which Daniels argued would save the state money on energy costs.[32] Although the state is in the Eastern Time Zone, Indiana's counties had adopted their own time zone practices, and in practice the state effectively observed two different times, and the central part of the state fluctuated between Eastern and Central Time depending on the time of year. Interests for both EST and CST time zones had prevented the official adoption of daylight saving since the 1930s, and had led to decades of debate. Daniels pressed for the entire state to switch to Central Time, but the General Assembly could not come to terms. Ultimately after a long debate, they adopted Eastern Daylight Saving Time, the measure passing by one vote, putting all but northwestern Indiana on the same time for the first time.[32]

A second controversial plan, known as the Major Moves plan, was passed in 2006. The Indiana Toll Road was leased to State Mobility Partners, a joint venture company owned by Spanish firm Cintra and Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure Group for 75 years in exchange for a one time payment of $3.85 billion. The measure was opposed by most Democrats, who began an advertising campaign accusing Daniels of selling the road to foreign nations.[33][34] The income from the lease was used to finance a backlog of public transportation projects and create a $500 million trust fund to generate revenue for the maintenance of the highway system.[31]

Daniels' support for such controversial legislation led to a rapid drop in his approval rating; in May 2005, a poll showed a 18-point drop in support and that only 42% of Hoosiers approved of the way he was doing his job. In the following months, many of his reforms began to have a positive effect; and his ratings began to improve, and his approval rebounded.[35]

In 2006, Daniels continued his effort to reduce state operating costs by signing into law a bill privatizing the enrollment service for the state's welfare programs. Indiana's welfare enrollment facilities were replaced with call centers operated by IBM. In mid-2009, after complaints of poor service, Daniels canceled the contract and returned the enrollment service to the public sector.[36]

Economic development

When Daniels was elected, he stated his number one priority was job creation.[6] To achieve that goal, he created the public-private Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), became chairman of its board, and ordered it to “act at the speed of business, not the speed of government,” to attract new jobs. During its first year, the IEDC closed more transactions than similar efforts had during the previous two years combined. Between 2005 and 2008, 485 businesses committed to creating more than 60,000 new jobs and invest $14.5 billion into the Indiana economy.[6]

During a 12-day trade mission in Asia, Daniels visited Indiana soldiers serving on the border of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. On the 56th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, he laid a bouquet of white flowers at the base of a plaque listing 900 soldiers from Indiana who died in the war. During the visit he met with Asian auto executives and successfully promoted the expansion of facilities in Indiana.[37]

In 2006, the IEDC topped its 2005 results. It landed three high profile automotive investments from Toyota, Honda, and Cummins. In 2007, the IEDC announced its third consecutive record-breaking year for new investment and job commitments in Indiana with its largest deal being made with BP to construct $3.2 billion in facilities to assist in recovery of fuel from the Canadian tar sands.[6][31]

Healthy Indiana Plan

In 2007, Daniels signed the Healthy Indiana Plan, which provided 132,000 uninsured Indiana workers with coverage. The program works by helping its beneficiaries purchase a private health insurance policy with a subsidy from the state. The plan promotes health screenings, early prevention services, and smoking cessation. It also provides tax credits for small businesses that create qualified wellness and Section 125 plans. The plan was paid for by an increase in the state’s tax on cigarettes and the reallocation of federal medicaid funds through a special wavier granted by the federal government. In a September 15, 2007 Wall Street Journal column, Daniels was quoted as saying about the Healthy Indiana Plan and cigarette tax increase saying, “A consumption tax on a product you'd just as soon have less of doesn't violate the rules I learned under Ronald Reagan."[6][38]

The plan allows low to moderate income households where the members have no access to employer provided healthcare to apply for coverage. The fee for coverage is calculated using a formula that results in a charge between 2%–5% of a person's income. A $1,100 annual deductible is standard on all policies and allows applicants to qualify for a health savings account. The plan pays a maximum of $300,000 in annual benefits.[39]

Property tax reform

In 2008, Daniels proposed a property tax ceiling of one percent on residential properties, two percent for rental properties and three percent for businesses. The plan was approved by the Indiana General Assembly on March 14, 2008 and signed by Daniels on March 19, 2008. In 2008, Indiana homeowners had an average property tax cut of more than 30 percent; a total of $870 million in tax cuts. Most money collected through property taxes funds local schools and county government. To offset the loss in revenues to the municipal bodies, the state raised the sales tax from 6% to 7% effective April 1, 2008.[40]

Fearing a future government may overturn the statue enforcing property tax rate caps, Daniels and other state Republican leaders pressed for an amendment to add the new tax limits to the state constitution. The proposed amendment was placed on the 2010 General election ballot and was a major focus of Daniels' reelection campaign. In November 2010, voters elected to adopt the tax caps into the Indiana Constitution.[41]

Daniels' successes at balancing the state budget began to be recognized nationally near the end of his first term. Daniels was named on the 2008 "Public Officials of the Year" by the Governing magazine.[42] The same year, he received the 2008 Urban Innovator Award from the Manhattan Institute for his ideas for dealing with the state's fiscal and urban problems.[43]

Voter registration

In the 2005 session of the General Assembly, Daniels and Republicans, with some Democrat support, successfully enacted a voter registration law that required voters to show a government issued photo ID before they could be permitted to vote. The law was the first of its kind in the United States, and many civil rights organizations, like the ACLU, opposed the bill saying it would unfairly impact minorities, poor, and elderly voters who may be unable to afford an ID or may be physically unable to apply for an ID. To partially address those concerns, the state passed another law authorizing state license branches to offer free state photo ID cards to individuals who did not already possess another type of state ID.[44]

A coalition of civil rights groups began a court challenge of the bill in Indiana state courts, and the Daniels' administration defended the government in the case. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state in late 2007. The petitioners appealed the bill to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and that body upheld the State Supreme Court decision in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. Upon appeal the United States Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the state in April 2008, setting a legal precedent. Several other states subsequently enacted similar laws in the years following.[44]

Reelection campaign

Mitch Daniels (left) talking to members of the Indiana National Guard.

Daniels entered the 2008 election year with a 51% approval rate, and 28% disapproval rate. Daniels' reelection campaign focused on the states unemployment rate, which had lowered during his time in office, the proposed property tax reform amendment, and the successful balancing of the state budget during his first term.[45]

On November 4, 2008, Daniels defeated Democratic candidate Jill Long Thompson and was elected to a second term as Governor with 57.8% of votes.[46] He was reinaugurated on January 12, 2009. Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza named the Daniels reelection campaign "The Best Gubernatorial Campaign of 2008" and noted that some Republicans were already bandying about his name for the 2012 presidential election.[47] Daniels garnered 20 percent of the African American vote and 37 percent of Latinos in his 2008 re-election campaign.

On July 14, 2010 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Daniels was on hand to help announce the return of IndyCar Series chassis manufacturing to the state of Indiana.[48] Dallara Automobili will build a new technology center in Speedway, Indiana and the state of Indiana will subsidize the sale of the first 28 IndyCar chassis with a $150,000 discount.[49]

Daniels has been recognized for his commitment to fiscal discipline. He is a recent recipient of the Herman Khan Award from the conservative think tank the Hudson Institute, of which he is a former President and CEO, and was one of the first to receive the Fiscy award for fiscal discipline.[50] A November 2010 poll gave Daniels a 75% approval rate.[51]

Second term

Democrats won a majority in the Indiana House of Representatives in the 2006 and 2008 elections. This caused Indiana to have a divided government, with Democrats controlling the Indiana House of Representatives and the Republicans controlling the Governor's office and the Indiana Senate. This also lead to a stalemate in the budget debate, which caused Mitch Daniels call a special session of the Indiana General Assembly. The state was faced with a $1 billion shortfall in revenue for the 2009–11 budget years. Daniels proposed a range of spending cuts and cost saving measures in his budget proposal. The General Assembly approved some of his proposals, but relied heavily on the state's reserve funds to pay for the budget shortfall. Daniels signed the $27 billion two-year budget into law.

2011 legislative walkout

In the 2010 mid-term elections, Republican super-majorities regained control of the House, and took control of the Senate, giving the party full control of General Assembly for the first time in Daniels' tenure as governor. The 2011 Indiana General Assembly's regular legislative session began in January and the large Republicans majorities attempted to implement a wide-ranging conservative agenda largely backed by Daniels. Most of the agenda had been "dormant" since Daniels' election due to divided control of the assembly.[52] In February, Republican legislators attempted to pass a right to work bill in the Indiana House of Representatives. The bill would have made it illegal for employees to be required to join a workers' union. Republicans argued that it would help the state attract new employers. Unable to prevent the measure from passing, Democratic legislators fled the state to deny the body quorum while several hundred protesters staged demonstrations at the capital. Minority walkouts are somewhat common in the state, occurring as recently as 2005.[53]

While Daniels supported the legislation, he believed the Republican lawmakers should drop the bill because it was not part of their election platform and deserved a period of public debate. Republicans subsequently dropped the bill, but the Democratic lawmakers still refused to return to the capital, demanding additional bills be tabled, including a bill to create a statewide school voucher program. Their refusal to return left the Indiana General Assembly unable to pass any legislation, until three of the twelve bills they objected to were dropped from the agenda on March 28. The minority subsequently returned to the statehouse to resume their duties.[53]

Daniels was interviewed in February 2011 about the similar 2011 Wisconsin budget protests in Madison. While supporting the Wisconsin Republicans, he said that in Indiana "we're not in quite the same position or advocating quite the same things they are up in Madison."[54]


Following the legislative walkouts, the assembly began passing most of the agenda and Daniels signed the bills into law. Written in collaboration with Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, a series of education reform laws made a variety of major changes to statewide public schools. A statewide school voucher program was enacted. Children in homes with an income under $41,000 could receive vouchers equal to 90% of the cost of their public school tuition and use that money to attend a private school. It provides lesser benefits to households with income over $41,000. The program will be gradually phased in over a three-year period and would be available to all state residents by 2014.[52][55][56]

Other funds were redirected to creating and expanding charter schools, and expanding college scholarship programs. The law also created a merit pay system to give better performing teachers higher wages, and gave broader authority to school superintendents to terminate the employment of teachers and restricts the collective bargaining rights of teachers.[55]


In May, the state ended all funding for Planned Parenthood and all other health service providers who offered abortion services. Another law enacted banning abortions for women more than twenty weeks pregnant.[52] Planned Parenthood and the ACLU subsequently brought a lawsuit against the state alleging it was being targeted unfairly, that the state law violated federal medicaid laws, and that their Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. A May 11 ruling allowing the case to move forward, but denied the request from the petitioners to grant an temporary injunction to restore the funding;[57] however, a June 24 ruling prohibited the state from enforcing the law.[58]

In the same week, the legislature passed other bills backed by Daniels, including a law that banned synthesized marijuana.[52]


On May 10 Daniels signed into law two immigration bills; one denying in-state tuition prices to undocumented immigrants and another creating fines for employers that employed undocumented workers. Several protestors, at least five of whom were undocumented immigrants, were arrested while protesting the law at the statehouse when they broke into Daniels' office after being denied a meeting. Student leaders called for their release, while some state legislators called for their deportation.[59] Daniels' only significant legislative defeat during the session was his proposal to create new toll roads, which was opposed by a majority of his party.[56]

State Democratic Party leaders accused Daniels and the Republicans of passing controversial legislation only to enhance Daniels image so he could seek the Presidency. Daniels, however, denied the charges saying he would have enacted the same agenda years earlier had the then-Democratic majority permitted him to do so.[52]

Budget cuts

The state forecast continued revenue declines in 2010 that would result in a $1.7 billion budget shortfall if the state budget grew at its normal rate. Daniels submitted a two-year $27.5 billion spending plan to the General Assembly which would result in a $500 million surplus that would be used to rebuild the state reserve funds to $1 billion. He proposed a wide range of budget austerity measures, including employee furloughing, spending reductions, freezing state hiring, freezing state employee wages, and a host of administrative changes for state agencies. The state had already been gradually reducing its workforce by similar freezes, and by 2011, Indiana had the fewest state employees per capita than any other state—a figure Daniels touted to say Indiana had the nation's smallest government.[60][61]

The legislative walkouts delayed progress on the budget passage for nearly two months, but the House of Representatives was able to begin working on it in committee in April. The body made several alterations to the bill, including a reapportionment of education funding based more heavily on the number of students at a school, and removing some public school funding to finance the new voucher system and charter schools.[61]

2012 presidential speculation

Daniels at a 2009 awards ceremony

Although Daniels had claimed to be reluctant to seek higher office, many media outlets, including Politico, The Weekly Standard, Forbes, The Washington Post, CNN, The Economist, and The Indianapolis Star began to speculate that Daniels may intend to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012 after he joined the national debate on cap and trade legislation by penning a response in The Wall Street Journal to policies espoused by the Democratic-majority Congress and the White House in August 2010.[62][63] The speculation has included Daniels' record of reforming government, reducing taxes, balancing the budget, and connecting with voters in Indiana.[64][65][66][67] Despite his signing into law of bills that toughened drug enforcement, regulated abortion, and a defense of marriage act, he has angered some conservatives because of his call for a "truce" on social issues so the party can focus on fiscal issues.[citation needed] His "willingness to consider tax increases to rectify a budget deficit" has been another source of contention.[68]

In August 2010, The Economist praised Daniels' "reverence for restraint and efficacy" and concluded that "he is, in short, just the kind of man to relish fixing a broken state – or country."[69] Nick Gillespie of Reason called Daniels "a smart and effective leader who is a serious thinker about history, politics, and policy," and wrote that "Daniels, like former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, is a Republican who knows how to govern and can do it well."[70] In February 2011, David Brooks of The New York Times described Daniels as the "Party's strongest [would be] candidate," predicting that he "couldn't match Obama in grace and elegance, but he could on substance." [71]

On December 12, 2010, Daniels suggested in a local interview that he would decide on a White House run before May 2011.[72]

Different groups and individuals pressured Daniels to run for office.[73] In response to early speculation, Daniels dismissed a presidential run in June 2009, saying "I've only ever run for or held one office. It's the last one I'm going to hold."[74] However, in February 2010 he told a Washington Post reporter that he was open to the idea of running in 2012.[75]

On March 6, 2011, Daniels was the winner of an Oregon (Republican Party) straw poll. Daniels drew 29.33% of the vote, besting second place finisher Mitt Romney (22.66%) and third place finisher Sarah Palin (18.22%), and was the winner of a similar straw poll in the state of Washington.[76] On May 5, 2011, Daniels told an interviewer that he would announce "within weeks" his decision of whether or not to run for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he felt he was not prepared to debate on all the national issues, like foreign policy, and needed time to better understand the issues and put together formal positions.[77] Later in May, as the Republican field began to resolve with announcements and withdrawals of other candidates, Time said, "Even setting aside his somewhat unusual family situation, Daniels would need to hurry to put together an organization" and raise enough money if he intended to run.[78]

Daniels announced he would not seek the Republican nomination for the presidency on the night of May 21, 2011, via an email to the press, citing family constraints and the loss of privacy the family would experience should he become a candidate.[79]

Electoral history

Indiana gubernatorial election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mitch Daniels 1,302,912 53.2
Democratic Joe Kernan (Incumbent) 1,113,900 45.5
Libertarian Kenn Gividen 31,664 1.3
Indiana gubernatorial election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mitch Daniels (Incumbent) 1,542,371 57.8
Democratic Jill Long Thompson 1,067,863 40.1
Libertarian Andy Horning 56,651 2.1


  • Daniels, Mitch (2011), Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans, Sentinel, ISBN 978-1595230805 

See also


  1. ^ York, Byron (3 June 2009). "Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Douthat, Ross (2010-03-01). "A Republican Surprise". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  4. ^ King, Neil (2011-05-22). "Daniels Withdraws From Presidential Race". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  5. ^ "Governor Fun Facts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Gugin, p. 404
  8. ^ "2009 Kahlil Gibran Gala". Arab American Institute. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  9. ^ "At Statesmen's Dinner, Republicans urged to flip Obama's slogan on its head"
  10. ^ a b c d e Indianapolis Monthly. April 2002. pp. 142–145. ISBN 0899-0328. 
  11. ^ "Presidential Scholars". Presidential Scholars Association. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  12. ^ a b Schleifer, Teddy (February 24, 2011). "Daniels ’71: Into the spotlight". The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2011-02-28. "Officers found enough marijuana in his room to fill two size 12 shoe boxes, reports of the incident say. He and the other inhabitants of the room were also charged with possession of LSD and prescription drugs without a prescription." 
  13. ^ Democrats want more info on Daniels' arrest
  14. ^ Sullum, Jacob (2011-03-02) Mitch Daniels' Pot Luck, Reason
  15. ^ a b c d e "Mitch Daniels". IndyStar. 01-11-2005. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  16. ^ Daniels, Mitch, The Washington Post, August 22, 1989, accessed May 2, 2011.
  17. ^ "About the Governor: Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., Governor of Indiana". Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  18. ^ "Twenty Largest Indiana Public Companies". Indiana State Auditor. 1998. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  19. ^ a b Ferguson, Andrew (2010-06-14). "Ride Along With Mitch". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  20. ^ "The Eli Lilly Years". gooznewsauthor=Kensen, Joanne. May 11, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  21. ^ Slevin, Peter (2004-10-04). "In Indiana Race, Bush's Budget Blade Becomes 'My Man Mitch'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-28. "President Bush admiringly called him "the Blade," for the gleam in his budget-cutting eye." 
  22. ^ a b "Ross Douthat's Blog, 3 March 2010". The New York Times. 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  23. ^ a b Bumiller, Elisabeth (2002-12-31). "White House Cuts Estimate of Cost of War With Iraq". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04. "Mr. Daniels would not provide specific costs for either a long or a short military campaign against Saddam Hussein. But he said that the administration was budgeting for both, and that earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush's former chief economic adviser, were too high." [dead link]
  24. ^ Wolk, Martin (2006-05-17). "Cost of Iraq war could surpass $1 trillion". MSNBC. Retrieved 2008-03-10. "Back in 2002, the White House was quick to distance itself from Lindsey's view. Mitch Daniels, director of the White House budget office, quickly called the estimate "very, very high." Lindsey himself was dismissed in a shake-up of the White House economic team later that year, and in January 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the budget office had come up with "a number that's something under $50 billion." He and other officials expressed optimism that Iraq itself would help shoulder the cost once the world market was reopened to its rich supply of oil." 
  25. ^ Belasco, Any (29 March 2011). "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11". Congressional Research Service. p. 7. Retrieved 2011-05-05.  (via Federation of American Scientists)
  26. ^ a b c d e f Gugin, p. 402
  27. ^ a b Gugin, p. 403
  28. ^ Stoll, Ira (2010-03-08). "Mitch Daniels on the State of the Nation". Hudson Institute. Retrieved 2010-09-16. 
  29. ^ "Wisconsins Unions Get Ugly". Wall Street Journal. April 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  30. ^ a b "State Releases Budget Numbers". Inside Indiana Business. July 15, 2005. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  31. ^ a b c d Hemmingway, Mark (2009). "Mitch the Knife". National Review. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  32. ^ a b c Gugin, p. 405
  33. ^ Mwape, James Muma (2009). Guide to Electronic Toll Payments. Xulon Press. ISBN 9781615793648. 
  34. ^ "Mitch Daniels: The right stuff". The Economist. 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  35. ^ Gugin, p. 206
  36. ^ Douthat, Ross (2010-03-01). "A Republican Surprise". New York Times. 
  37. ^ "Governor visits Indiana troops in South Korea". 25 June 2006. 
  38. ^ Greene County Indiana Information – Articles
  39. ^ "Health Indiana Plan". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  40. ^ "Governor Signs Property Tax Relief Bill". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  41. ^ "Indiana Voters OK property tax cap". Associated Press. Indianapolis Business Journal. November 2, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
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  43. ^ "2008 Urban Innovator Award Winner". Manhattan Institute. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
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  47. ^ The Best Gubernatorial Campaign of 2008
  48. ^ Van Wyk, Rich. "Dallara picked for new IndyCar chassis". WTHR-TV. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  49. ^ "Dallara commits to new Speedway facility". IndyCar Series. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
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  51. ^ Trinko, Katrina (November 18, 2010). "Mitch Daniels’s Next Hurdle". National Review. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  52. ^ a b c d e Weidenbener, Lesley (May 1, 2011). Louisville Courier-Journal. p. A1, A18. 
  53. ^ a b Associated Press (February 22, 2011). "Democratic lawmakers leave Indiana, block labor bill". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  54. ^ "State Budgets and Public Unions", transcript, The Diane Rehm Show, 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
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  56. ^ a b Shella, Jim (April 25, 2011). "DANIEls Chalks Up Legislative Wins". WISHTV News. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  57. ^ Gillers, Heather (May 11, 2011). "Planned Parenthood eyes restraining order". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  58. ^ Guyett, Susan (2011-06-25). "Indiana can't end Planned Parenthood funds: judge". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  59. ^ Nye, Charlie (May 11, 2011). "Immigration bills signed amid arrests". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  60. ^ "Ways and Means Presentation". Governor's Office. March 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-014. 
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  62. ^ Mitch Daniels (August 19, 2010). "The Right Stuff". The Economist. 
  63. ^ Mitch Daniels (15 May 2009). "Indiana Says 'No Thanks' to Cap and Trade". The Wall Street Journal. 
  64. ^ Lou Zickar (18 May 2009). "The innovators of today's GOP". 
  65. ^ Peter Robinson (15 May 2009). "The Future Of The GOP". Forbes. 
  66. ^ Chris Cillizza (12 May2009). "Can Mitch Daniels Save the GOP?". The Washington Post. 
  67. ^ Matthew Tully (17 May 2009). "How do Daniels' moves add up?". [dead link]
  68. ^ Silver, Nate (2011-02-04) A Graphical Overview of the 2012 Republican Field, New York Times
  69. ^ "The right stuff". The Economist. 2010-08-19. 
  70. ^ Gillespie, Nick (2011-01-05) NY Times Flips its Whig Over Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), Reason
  71. ^ Brooks, David (February 25, 2011). "Run Mitch, Run". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-01. 
  72. ^ ^ Mellinger, Mark (2010-12-16). "Daniels to decide on WH run before May", Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  73. ^ Various (2 January 2011). "Student Initiative to Draft Daniels". 
  74. ^ "Daniels Ends 2012 Speculation". 3 June 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009. 
  75. ^ Cook, Dave (February 23, 2010). "Mitch Daniels open to presidential run, despite '100 reasons' to pass". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2011=05-05. 
  76. ^ Mapes, Jeff (march 6, 2011). "Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wins GOP presidential straw poll in Oregon". The Oregonian. Retrieved 03-7-2011. 
  77. ^ Haberman, Maggie (May 5, 2011). "Mitch Daniels". Politico. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  78. ^ Duffy, Michael[[{{subst:DATE|date=September 2011}}|{{subst:DATE|date=September 2011}}]] [disambiguation needed ][[{{subst:DATE|date=July 2011}}|{{subst:DATE|date=July 2011}}]] [disambiguation needed ], "Seven Days in May: How One Week Clarified the GOP Field, Time magazine, May 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-16.
  79. ^ By Maggie Haberman (May, 22, 2011). "Mitch Daniels won't run in 2012". Politico. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  • Gugin, Linda C. & St. Clair, James E, ed (2006). The Governors of Indiana. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Society Press. ISBN 0871951967. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jacob Lew
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Joshua Bolten
Preceded by
Joseph Kernan
Governor of Indiana
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Indiana
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bobby Jindal
as Governor of Louisiana
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Indiana
Succeeded by
Haley Barbour
as Governor of Mississippi

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