The prominent national conservative organization Club for Growth hopes to keep the two-term Indiana governor and former Purdue University president Mitch Daniels out of a new race for the US Senate with a explosive advert airing Sunday on Hoosier TVs was.
Daniels is considering running to replace Senator Mike Braun, who is giving up the seat to run for governor. He hasn’t publicly announced a decision, but some conservative groups don’t want to see him return as a candidate.
“His brand of republicanism is obsolete,” said David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth Action and a former Indiana congressman. “Hoosiers need new leadership to address the problems that Mitch and other moderates have created for over 50 years.”
The move comes after a Bellwether Research poll in December found Daniels easily leading a hypothetical Senate field at 32%; The closest competitor is US Representative Jim Banks with 10%.
Longtime Daniels adviser and friend Mark Lubbers was quick to respond to the ad, saying, “If anything, this McIntosh ad will make his race more likely. It’s personal. It’s a gross distortion. And it offends Indiana, whose standing under Governor Daniels has risen higher than ever.
“In the past 15 years, no fewer than 25 Republican governors have modeled their service on Mitch Daniels. His conservative record is crystal clear – not in the fairytale world David McIntosh lives in, but in the real world of governance.”
The ad begins by claiming that Daniels’ credentials as a free-ranging, big-thinking truth-teller are a myth.
“An old-guard Republican holding on to the old ways of the bad ol’ days,” proclaims the 60 Second commercial, while adding that Daniels is non-conservative and “not right for Indiana anymore.”
The group says it wants to get the right kind of limited-government, pro-growth conservatives into Congress, according to its website. These include US Senator Victoria Spartz from Indiana, Ted Cruz from Texas and more.
The Super PAC begins with a $16,500 ad buy during Sunday political shows statewide. But McIntosh warned the group not to “spend whatever is necessary to ensure voters know his true record.”
The ad accused Daniels of spending decisions he made as director of the Federal Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush and tax increases during his tenure as Indiana governor. For example, it is said that he proposed (he did) an income tax and increased the sales tax.
The latter was a result of the state taking over most of the funding for K-12 schools and capping property taxes statewide.
And it slams the bipartisan Federal Budget Responsibility Committee — of which Daniels is co-chair — for backing a carbon tax and endorsing President Joe Biden’s climate and tax bill as fiscally accountable.
“Mitch Daniels boasted to Newsweek that he never uses the word ‘conservative’ to describe himself — because he’s not,” the ad reads, citing a 2010 interview.
Daniels did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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