Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today promised to remain neutral in his state’s upcoming Republican Senate primary, but admitted to being “startled” by Coats’ surprise candidacy.
Former Senator Dan Coats is “just alarmed about the country, I can tell you that from talking to him,” Daniels said of Coats, who contacted the governor Monday about his potential challenge to Democratic Senator Evan Bayh.
Many Republicans criticized Coats’ candidacy as a recruiting failure for the NRSC, seemingly buttressed by Daniels’ admission today that, despite leading Bayh by 10 percentage-points in internal polling by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he was not approached about running.
Daniels, who many are hoping will consider a 2012 presidential bid, said he was also unsure who courted Coats.
“I was startled. And I don’t know, I don’t think any of us can tell how it works,” he said.
But Coats’ bid to unseat Bayh, who won the seat in 1998 after Coats retired, “wasn’t his idea,” according to Daniels, saying also, “he has no need to do this.”