By Adam Aasen
State Sen. Mike Delph, a Republican from Carmel, has decided not to run for higher office just yet. He said he won’t throw his name into the Republican primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Delph is a social conservative who has often sought the endorsement of Tea Party groups. In an exclusive interview with Current in Carmel over Labor Day weekend, Delph said he believes he had the statewide support to run for U.S. Senate but struggled with the decision. He has represented the 29th district since 2005, which includes parts of Carmel and Zionsville.
“Everywhere I go people ask me to run for higher office,” he said. “Some people wanted me to run for governor. People want me to run for Congress or Senate. And it’s truly an honor because I really believe that it’s all about serving the people and not about yourself.”
Coats retired after one term and now the Republican Party is searching for a candidate to run against presumed Democratic candidate Baron Hill, a former congressman who represented the Bloomington area. Announced candidates include former Coats aide Eric Holcomb; U.S. Rep. Todd Young of Bloomington, who defeated Hill to win his current seat; and U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, whose district is in Northeast Indiana.
Delph said some party insiders told him that he and Stutzman might have split some votes since both politicians often appeal to social conservatives and Tea Party groups. For that reason, Delph said some urged him to wait and think about running against U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, a democrat.
In the end, Delph said that his family made his decision about whether to run.
“My family is my number one priority,” he said.
Delph released a statement to the public on Sept. 15:
It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of Indiana State Senate District 29. With the unexpected retirement announcement of United States Senator Dan Coats taking place during a very busy 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly, my attention was rightfully focused on serving my constituents in the Indiana State Senate. As such, I did not have the ability to appropriately evaluate whether I should consider becoming a candidate. Since session adjourned, at the urging of supporters across the State of Indiana, I have spoken to a number of grassroots activists, GOP donors, friends, family, and neighbors to try to properly assess the 2016 race.
Beth and I have the honor and duty of raising five amazing young ladies. This past Labor Day weekend we had a very in-depth discussion with our daughters regarding the impact a 2016 campaign, and service in Washington, DC, could have on our family. While I have been grateful and humbled by the encouragement, confidence, and support granted to me, it has become increasingly apparent that the burden on my family would be too great for me to enter the open United States Senate race, or any race, in 2016. My responsibility as a husband and a father trumps the duty and noble calling of public service.
I want to extend a special thanks to United States Senator Dan Coats for the personal time he invested in me as I gathered information to evaluate this effort. I am indeed thankful and grateful I had the chance to learn from such a dedicated and valued public servant. Last and certainly not least, for all of my friends, family, and supporters and well-wishers who offered up prayers and encouragement, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am grateful for your friendship, loyalty, and dedication to civic duty! Be comforted in the knowledge and truth that God still governs in the affairs of men and women in the United States of America!