Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told supporters in a midnight email early Sunday that he is opting against a 2012 presidential run, a decision that he said ultimately came down to family concerns.
The decision by the former political operative and favorite of much of the GOP establishment will again roil the unsettled GOP field—and likely intensify efforts to convince another major candidate to join the race, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The Daniels email, obtained by POLITICO, went out from Indiana GOP chief Eric Holcomb, a key Daniels adviser, soon after midnight, with the word "Urgent" in the subject line.
"The following is from Governor Mitch Daniels…." the email began.
“I hope this reaches you before the public news does," Daniels wrote. "If so, please respect my confidence for the short time until I can make it known to all."
He went on, "The counsel and encouragement I received from important citizens like you caused me to think very deeply about becoming a national candidate. In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry."
Mr. Daniels, a two-term governor who had worked the administrations of both George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, had often expressed concerns about the strains a national campaign would put on his wife and four adult daughters.
His decision to stay out of the race eliminates one of the last big Republicans still known to be eyeing a presidential campaign and rounds out a week that also saw two other well-known figures— Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump—take their names out of contention.
"If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry," Mr. Daniels wrote. "If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached."