Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Without Mitch

Gov. Mitch Daniels announced this past week that he will recuse himself from participating in partisan politics going forward now that he has accepted appointment as Purdue University's new president when he leaves office next year. The Northwest Indiana Times' Dan Carden discusses Daniels' withdrawal from politics will have on the political landscape. Because of his personal popularity, Carden says Republicans fret over the loss while Democrats are pleased.

. . . Privately, Republican candidates are grumbling about not getting to campaign side by side with a Republican governor who enjoys a 63 percent approval rating. Though the party's top official said Friday it's no big deal.
"One of the measures of a great leader is who comes after you to carry the torch," GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb said. "Thanks to the efforts of Gov. Daniels, we have a deep bench of Republicans on the field and ready to carry our party's message through November and beyond."
But it's easy to see the ways Daniels will be missed.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock could have used Daniels' fundraising prowess and national profile to replenish his campaign account following an expensive primary race against U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar.
Now Mourdock, who is tied in public opinion polls with Democrat Joe Donnelly, is stuck doing that time-consuming work on his own.
Mike Pence, the Republican candidate for governor, would have had an easier time making the case that he'll continue Daniels' policies if Daniels were traveling the state saying the same thing.
Pence must now campaign with nary a word from the man he hopes to succeed . . .
Indiana Democrats aren't publicly cheering Daniels' decision to drop out of politics. However, one party insider told The Times, "Now Mourdock and Pence can't sit on Daniels' shoulders and say that they're tall."
Both Pence and Mourdock will have no problem raising money for their campaigns with or without Daniels. Pence is already on track to raise more money for his first gubernatorial bid than any other candidate in Indiana history and has more of a national following than Daniels. National Republicans will fill any void that may be needed to help Mourdock with fundraising. The key to their success will be their respective messages, not Daniels' message or influence. In Pence's case, it is probably an advantage to him that Daniels won't be actively participating in the political process. At least he won't have to worry about Daniels publicly second-guessing the job he is doing as governor since Daniels will need his support more than he needs Daniels' support.

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