Indiana Governor to Seek Full Term

Saying his short time in office has changed his mind, Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan (search) revealed he plans to run for a full term next year.

While serving as lieutenant governor last year, Kernan said he would not run in 2004. But he said Thursday that circumstances changed when he was thrust into office after Gov. Frank O'Bannon (search)'s death in September.

"I have a much better understanding of the kind of challenges and the opportunities that face the state of Indiana and have determined ... that I want to play a role," Kernan said.

Kernan began calling Democrats about his decision Thursday evening but planned a formal announcement Friday.

State Democratic Chairman Joe Hogsett said Kernan's decision puts the party in a stronger position to win next year. Mitch Daniels (search), a former White House budget director under President Bush, is expected to get the Republican nomination.

Ellen Whitt, deputy campaign manager for Daniels, said Daniels would not comment until after Kernan's announcement Friday.

Democratic State Sen. Vi Simpson (search) and Joe Andrew (search), a former state and national Democratic chairman, both said they would drop out if Kernan entered the race.

Kernan, when he was lieutenant governor, stunned both major parties last December by dropping his expected campaign for the state's highest office. He was sworn in Sept. 13 after O'Bannon died of a stroke.