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He is looked with admiration in GOP circles for being the rare Republican who won office in 2008, a Democratic year, in a state that Mr. Obama won. Since being re-elected, he has leveraged Republican majorities in the Indiana Legislature to push through a conservative agenda.

Mr. Daniels made his intentions clear in a characteristically understated email.

It was sent by the governor through Eric Holcomb, the Indiana Republican Party chairman and one of Mr. Daniels‘ closest advisers

“Many thanks for your help and input during this period of reflection,” the statement ended. “Please stay in touch if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our republic.”

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Liz Sidoti and Philip Elliott in Washington and Tom LoBianco in Indianapolis contributed to this report.