Daniels stayed in Indiana, making millions as an executive for Eli Lilly & Co until 2001, when a newly elected President George W. Bush appointed him to be director of the Office of Budget and Management. In 2004, Daniels ran for governor.
Even his closest friends weren’t sure how Daniels would do on the stump, but he eventually cleared the GOP primary and defeated then-Gov. Joe Kernan (D) by 8 points.
“I never thought he would be as a good a candidate as he was. But when he ran for governor, he ran away with it,” Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) recalled. “I just thought he was more of a tactical person, a person who worked on budgets, on spending, and doing the job for the Senatorial committee. I never thought of him as a candidate like that. But when he ran for governor of Indiana, he had an extraordinarily good campaign — and he was a darn good candidate.”