Non-candidate Thune headliner at Sioux City event

South Dakota Senator John Thune announced several weeks ago that he would NOT run for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination.  But Thune has agreed to follow in the footsteps of people like Newt Gingrich (thinking about running in ’12), Rick Santorum (thinking about running in ’12), George Pataki (not running in ’12) and John Ensign (really not running in ’12; just resigned from US Senate) and headline an event for the American Future Fund.

AFF Announces Lecture Series Event with Senator John Thune
US Senator John Thune to speak in AFF’s Conservative Lecture Series in Sioux City
American Future Fund announces the kick-off of their Conservative Lecture Series for 2011 with guest speaker US Senator John Thune scheduled to speak on May 31 in Sioux City.
Senator Thune (R-SD) was first elected to Congress in 1996 and then to the Senate in 2004.  In 2009 he was elected by his colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the US Senate.  Senator Thune has been a leader in the fight against ObamaCare and the potentially catastrophic cap and trade legislation.  He is a strong advocate for a balanced federal budget and reforming the budget process.  Senator Thune strongly believes in and advocates for the basic principles of liberty, freedom and small government that our founders built this great country on.
AFF Founder Nick Ryan stated, “It is an honor to have such a distinguished member of the US Senate join our lecture series in Iowa.  We look forward to hearing Senator Thune speak on our nation’s most pressing concerns.”
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Thune will NOT run in ’12

South Dakota Senator John Thune will not run for president in 2012.  His home-state Argus-Leader describes the “gut-level” decision in this story.  Thune made the announcement on his Facebook page.  Read the statement below:

For months now, my wife Kimberley and I have received encouragement from family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across South Dakota and the country to run for the presidency of the United States. We have appreciated hearing their concerns about where the country is headed and their hopes for a new direction.

During this time, Kimberley and I and our two daughters have given a great deal of thought to how we might best serve South Dakota and our nation. That process has involved lots of prayer.

Along the way, we have been reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight. And make no mistake that during this period of fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty there is a fight for the future direction of America. There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now. So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.

I want to thank those who have encouraged us and prayed for us during the past several months. We are forever grateful for all the support.

Ron Paul 2012?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has agreed to do one of The Family Leader’s three-stop tours of the state.  Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty at this hour is in Pella on stage two of the three-stage tour. Read the news release below outlining Paul’s schedule.

Iowans Taking a Leading Role in Educational Process

Pleasant Hill, IA – The FAMiLY LEADER received confirmation Friday that Congressman Ron Paul will be the featured speaker at their Presidential Lecture Series on March 7.  Congressman Paul is scheduled to deliver his pro-family lecture and meet with members of Leadership Roundtables at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Pella Christian High School in Pella, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City.  Congressman Paul will follow former Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is kicking off this educational series today, February 7th.     

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The JT watch

No, this isn’t about Justin Timberlake.  It’s about John Thune, the Republican senator from South Dakota who may run for president in 2012.  Thune was very, very close to Iowa today.  He visited North Sioux City, South Dakota, and a Sioux City Journal reporter was there.  From the SCJ story:

…Asked by the Journal if he was on a presidential exploratory trip, Thune observed, “We haven’t crossed the border yet.” And so, if we see him in Iowa does that means he is running? He didn’t answer that one.

Later, after an audience member asked if he is a candidate, he said, “We haven’t made any decision yet. I think these are really, really challenging times. I think we need the common sense solutions that come out of the Midwest.”

DMR “Iowa Poll” on 2012 presidential impressions

The Des Moines Register has a taken a poll about Republicans who may run for president in 2012.  Beyond the top three with “most favorable” impressions, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is unknown to 80 percent of the Iowa Republicans surveyed.  (This despite former Governor Branstad’s tendency to cite Daniels in his stump speeches as he campaigns for a fifth term.)  Neighboring U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota is “unknown” to 71 percent of those surveyed.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has made a few trips to Iowa, and he’s not quite as unknown according to the survey.  He was unknown to 53 percent of those surveyed.

Here’s the link to the DMR Poll story — you’ll see former Massachusetts Governor Romney, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (in that order) had high favorable ratings.  Very few people surveyed — only three percent — had not formed an opinion about Palin.  The survey was conducted June 1 through 3, mostly AFTER Palin endorsed Terry Branstad late on June 3 and angered Bob Vander Plaats supporters.   “She’s dead to me now,” was one of the comments I heard last Saturday as I walked into the venue where Bob Vander Plaats was to have a rally.

Grassley bucks

According to Congress Daily, our very own Senator Chuck Grassley has a lot of money raised for his 2010 re-election campaign.  Among the Republican senators who are up in '10, Grassley ranks fourth in campaign cash. 

From one to Grassley, here are the top seven senators in terms of fundraising:  Shelby, Bayh, Schumer, Specter, Boxer, Thune and Grassley.  Shelby, Specter and Thune are Republicans, as is Grassley.  Grassley, by the way, has raised more than John McCain has raised for his re-election bid.  McCain is expected to run for another six-year term in the senate next year.