Senator John Thune Tops “The Herd” of White House 2012’s Potential Vice Presidential Picks for Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today, in it’s final installation of the series, White House 2012 offers a look at Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Born: January 7,1961(age 49), Murdo, South Dakota

Spouse(s): Kimberly Thune

Children : Brittany and Larissa

Residence : Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Alma mater: Biola University

Religion: Evangelical Christian

` Political Career :

  • Served as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Abdnor.
  • Was an appointee of President Ronald Reagan to the Small Business Administration.
  • Was appointed Railroad Director of South Dakota by Governor George S. Mickelson and served from 1991 to 1993.
  • From 1993 and 1996, he worked as a member of the South Dakota Municipal League.
  • In 1996, Thune was elected to South Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won reelection in 1998 and in 2000 was reelected with over 70% of the vote. Thune supported term limits and promised to serve no more than three terms in the House.
  • Keeping his pledge, Thune instead ran for the United States Senate, challenging Senator Tim Johnson in 2002. Democrat ran scandal which saw Party officials pay for on Indian reservations placed the results of the election in doubt. But Thune decided not to mount a legal challenge by filing any objections and accepting a questionable and close loss by 524 votes (0.15%).
  • Between 2002 and 2004 Thune worked as a lobbyist for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad.
  • In 2004, he again ran for the Senate, this time challenging incumbent Tom Daschle, at the time the United States Senate Minority Leader and leader of the Senate Democrats. It is rare for for the Party’s legislative leaders to lose an election but after overcoming Daschle’s early 7 point lead, Thune defeated Daschle by 4,508 votes.

John Thune sits on the following committees:

Photobucket

Thune is an attractive, young, conservative with heartland values that would be a big help to a candidate like Mitt Romney.  Yes, I know we have had seemingly similar people who fit that same description, but John Thune is no Dan Quayle.  The only drawback in picking Thune is the fact that South Dakota is going to go Republican in the presidential election no matter what and even if the G.O.P. did not have a lock on South Dakota, the benefit that comes with the advantage of Thune being that state’s favorite son is a miniscule 3 electoral votes.

But if the basis for chosing a vice presidential running mate is that of someone who he is capable of being President at a moment’s notice, than there is no reason for a Republican not pick Thune.  He is a solid conservative, not perfect, but solid, and he is well spoken, levelheaded, quite friendly, knowledgable on the issues and his legislative record is one which is rich in common sense solutions that most conservatives and common sense Americans would find quite appealing.   Add to that the regional appeal that Thune has and what you have is someone who is an almost perfect vice presidential nominee.

Part of the importance of Thune’s Midwest appeal is the neighboring swing state of Iowa, a state President Obama won in 2008.

In 2012, John Thune is much more popular among Iowa voters than is the President.  It is a fact that the Romney campaign used quite well after Thune became an early supporter of Mitt Romney and began campaigning with Romney in Iowa during the state’s presidential caucus.  Thune’s regional appeal could help make two typically solid blue states, Minnesota and even Wisconsin, far more competitive than they might be without Thune on the ticket.

Aside from the possible effects that John Thune could have on the electoral college, the two term conservative Senator meets all the basic criteria that Mitt Romney seeks.  Most important is Romney’s level of comfort in his running mate.  Like Romney, John Thune is firm, methodical, deliberative, not abbrassaive, and non-controversial.    This makes Thune a a safe choice for Romney among the conservative base that still doubts the depth of Romney’s committment to the conservative ideology.  Yet at the same time, John Thune lacks the ire of the left that would make him the type of lightning rod for their hatred that others such as Chris Christie or Michelle Bachmann would be.  That lack of hatred which is often exhibited fby the left means that the addition of Thune to the G.O.P. ticket will not provide the left with the degree of motivation that would be required to use Thune as a distraction from the issues.

Thune is a productive legislative leader, and a bright youthful, inoffensive, consistently conservative consideration for Vice President and is certainly on Romney’s shortlistt.  In recent days, Senator Thune has admitted that he has met with Beth Meyers, the woman heading up Romney’s search for a running mate, but he has not confirmed whether or not the Romney campaign is still vetting him.

However; I maintain that because of Thune’s overall record, his personal attributes, the unlikely acceptance of other individuals who may be up for the job, and the circumstances confronting Romney in the existing political environment, I believe John Thune is probably the person most likely to be picked by Romney.  While he may not excite the ticket with a sense of history and diversity because of his color, gender or lack of a Hispanic background, all o which would help bolster the G.O.P.’s much needed support from various blocs of voting groups, he is a competent and reliable selection who can offer a degree of balance that Romney needs in order to keep together his conservative base, motivate fiscal conservatives, and still be able to compete for the pivotal independent votes that will be needed to win the presidency.

Thune was considered a possible presidential candidate and even gave the idea of running for president some serious thought of his own until he decided against it in late spring of 2011.   But running for Vice President is a different story, and if asked to run, I really don’t see Senator Thune refusing the nomination.  Being Romney’s running mate will be a no risk proposition for Thune that will produce high yields for his political future.  Having been reelected to the Senate in 2010, Thune will not have to give up his senate to run for Vice President and if a Romney-Thune ticket did happen to lose in 2012, Thune will continue to serve in  the Senate and he will do so as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.  That scenario dovetails quite well with Thune’s support for term limits.

When he served in the House of Representatives, Thune limited himself to three two year terms.  Now as a Senator, it is safe to say that he will limit himself to two six year terms.  As such, a run for President would be the perfect next step.  So for Thune, there is no reason to say “no” if asked to be Mitt Romney’s running mate

Thune is a productive legislative leader, who is youthful, bright, inoffensive, consistently conservative, and a good man in his own right.  Thune is certainly on Romney’s shortlist and if the nomination of the Vice President becomes contentious, John Thune would be the perfect compromise candidate.  And for all the right reasons.

Pros:

  • Thune is positioned well to attract independent voters
  • Can appeal to younger voters
  • Helps Romney in the Midwest, specifically Iowa, Minnesota, and possibly even Wisconsin
  • Thune has the capacity to be the articulate and credible attack dog that the G.O.P. will need on the ticket
  • Thune was a strong opponent of certain economic recovery and stimulus spending bills in 2008 and early 2009 and subsequently voted against many of those measures
  • Thune has played a leading role in formulating energy policy and was instrumental in passing a comprehensive energy bills in 2005 and 2007

Cons:

  • Although Thune now states he is disappointed in the way the money from the first  Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 was spent, Thune did vote for it
  • Thune may be vulnerable to attacks based upon distortions of his work as a lobbyist for for the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
  • Thune does not help to guarantee Republicans that they will any of the electoral rich states like Ohio or Florida  that may be pivotal in the Electoral College.
  • Thune’s support for earmarks that went to South Dakota will be exploited by the left

Assessment:

Thune is one of the more relatively exciting safe choices that Romney can make.  He is a relatively young, fresh political face, with a fairly solid conservative record and he can help Romney appeal to independent voters and voters in several upper Midwest state that Romney could use help in.  Since 2011, I have felt that John Thune is Mitt Romney’s most likely choice for Vice President.  Thune is a perfect fit for Romney in the sense that Thune is a comfortable match for Romney.   With names like Rubio and Daniels supposedly out of the running because of their claims to not want the job, unless Romney is prepared to make a bold choice and pick a running mate that could be viewed as a game changer, I believe that Thune is more likely to picked by Romney than other so-called safe choices such as Ohio’s Rob Portman or Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.

While Pawlenty is a solid and safe choice, he has never been very popular and if his own campaign for the Republican presidential nomination proved anything, it is that voters couldn’t care less about him.  As for Rob Portman, his addition to the ticket does not necessarily guarantee that he will deliver Ohio to the the Republican ticket but it does help tie Romney to the Obama Administration because of Portman’s past position as the Director of the Office of management and Budget under Bush.  That combined with the longer history of accomplishment that Thune has over Portman in the Senate makes John Thune a vice presidential pick for Romney that has more potential and less baggage than Portman will.

Will Romney pick Thune?  I have no idea if that can be answered in the affirmative or the negative but I have a personal sense of things that tells me Romney is leaning towards making John Thune his running mate.

Photobucket

Bill Sponsorship & Co-Sponsorship

Some of Thune’s most recently sponsored bills include…

View All » (including bills from previous years)

Photobucket

Recent Key Votes

More Key Votes

Photobucket

Thune On The Issues

Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

Photobucket

Click here for John Thune’s Facebook Page

Bookmark and Share

The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Mitt Romney Receives Important Endorsement in Iowa

Senator John Thune

Bookmark and Share    In a letter released by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, conservative South Dakota Senator John Thune has endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

Thune becomes the eighth incumbent Republican U.S. Senator to endorse Romney’s candidacy but Thune’s endorsement is probably one of the most important.  In addition to South Dakota being an influential neighbor Iowa, the state with the first in the nation presidential caucus, Thune is a favorite of social conservatives and his seal of approval on Romney does help to force some on the right, including evangelicals, to give Romney a second look, especia.ly in the areas that Thune is known to be a solid defender of…….faith, family and some of the issues Romney has been seen as soft on.  Issues such as abortion.

Earlier this year, John Thune was himself, widely viewed as a top contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.  But the Senator decided against making his own bid in 2012

Shortly before the email announcing the endorsement of Romney was released, the two men met in Iowa, where Senator Thune initially  announced his endorsement

Below is the email that was sent out to Romney’s supporters;

Mitt

Dear Anthony,

The next election will be the most important in generations. We can choose to continue on the same path with four more years of President Obama’s failed policies or we can choose a leader who has the needed experience to lead an economic recovery.
 
That leader is Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life in the private sector, as leader of the Olympics, as governor, and in this campaign that he will not back down from difficult challenges. His plans to revitalize the private sector and restore our country’s fiscal health are drawn from his 25 year career as a conservative businessman. Washington could use these commonsense principles at such a critical time.

I hope you’ll join me and stand with Mitt today.

Sincerely,
John Thune

Bookmark and Share

South Dakota Senator John Thune Declines a Run for President in 2012

Bookmark and Share The evolving Republican presidential field today takes another turn which takes one contender out of the running but leaves the door wider open for others to enter through.

Statement posted on Friends of John Thune Website

Today in a statement released by John Thune, the second term senator from South Dakota ruled out a run for President in 2012. According to the senator;

“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,” he said in a statement released by his senate campaign organization.

“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,” he said.

According to Thune his decision making process

“involved lots of prayer,” and throughout it he and his family were “reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight.”

The Senator explained why he chose to focus on his senate responsibilities rather than take on new ones by stating;

“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,” he said, explaining why he was choosing to focus on his current job, rather than seeking a new one.

Within the last month, John Thune has become the second major possible contender for President to decide against challenging President Obama in next years election. Just a few weeks ago, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was the first recent top tier name to decline a run for the Republican presidential nomination. Pence is said to have decided to run for Governor of Indiana instead. Incumbent Governor Mitch Daniels is termed limited and at the moment he has said he will make his own decision about a potential run for President in April, when his states legislative session is over.

Thune’s decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination, continues to leave lots of room for a favorite of social conservatives to occupy in the still developing field. Pence was seen a favorite among the socially conservative G.O.P. base and Thune was viewed as a possible acceptable alternative. Thune’s absence from the race leaves hope for others like Michele Bachmann and boosts the fortunes of people like Herman Cain, Mike Huckabee and even Sarah Palin, if they were to run.

Bookmark and Share

John Thune’s Powerful Speech at CPAC

Bookmark and Share South Dakota Senator John Thune came before an energetic crowd of CPAC Republicans and delivered a potent address which called upon our nation and its leaders to confront hard choices which require us to make decisions.Thunes energetic sermon hit upon jobs, the budget, energy, national security, values, spending, the need for terrorists to be tried in military courts and stopping the growth of government. Thune described President Obama as a man who doesnt understand that success in America is not what our government can do for us, but what Americans can achieve. At one point when Senator Thune reflected upon a conversation with his wife Kimberly after his 524 vote loss in the 2002 senate race, he said something which sounded like it could be an indication that he will actually run for President. He said that in reflecting upon his 2002 loss, his wife hit on something which resonated with him. The point was that we have to be in the race. Of course he also said that we must be in the arena and essentially fight the good fight. So the reference to having to be in the race could have been a metaphorical one. But that conclusion is for you to decide when you hear for himself how he said it.Thune’s speech was one which showed the great promise that he possesses as a candidate, a legislator, and a leader. If he were to run for President, a decision he has said he will make at the end of this month, the combination of his skill, his record, his lack of baggage and the freshness of his face on the national stage, will make him a formidable candidate and easily a popular alternative for those voters who are not to excited about any of the names being considered for the Republican presidential nomination. All that he would need to become an and surprising front runner is money. If he can raise big bucks, he can make a big dent in the Republican nomination process.

Bookmark and Share

Republican Presidential Contenders React To President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share Under an atmosphere that frowned upon the slightest hint of disagreement much more than in State of the Unions gone by, many potential Republican candidates for President had reactions to the Presidents address whichshowed that they were not timid in their desire to make clearwhere theyparted ways withthe President.

The often abrasive John Bolton who threatens to run for President for the purpose of focusing the nations attention on to international threats to our security Tweeted;

With no foreign policy victory of his own & many failures, bizarre that Obama would take credit for restoring America’s leadership in world.

Leading conservative deficit hawk, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint sent out a Tweet stating;

Our debt crisis demands spending cuts, not a freeze. When a car speeds toward a cliff, you hit the brakes, not cruise control.

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence sent out the following the email that described the Presidents speech as frustrating. In it he also sent a post SOTU interview he did with PBS.

Dear Fellow American, In last night’s State of the Union address,




President Obama called on Americans to take control of our destiny and take responsibility for the deficit.
He outlined plans to increase American competitiveness through education, infrastructure and innovation. And he encouraged members of Congress to put their differences aside and work together to restore this country to prosperity and greatness.So how does President Obama plan to achieve this transformation? More spending!

You and I both know that more spending and more borrowing is not the answer to get the economy moving. To hear the President call for more of the same stimulus spending that failed to turn our economy around for the last two years was very frustrating. That’s why I hope you will stand with me as I call on our leaders to give the American people a new direction.

Sincerely,

Mike Pence
Member of Congress

On his Free and Strong America PAC web site, Mitt Romney had the following statement posted;

President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there. Under President Obama’s economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the President has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he’s still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can’t build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the President’s misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him.”

South Dakota Senator John Thune issues a press release in which he decalred:

“After presiding over a staggering 21 percent spending increase during his first two years in office, the President’s proposal to simply keep spending at its current level for the next five years is too little, too late. In just two years, the government has grown at 10 times the rate of inflation.

“The president called for new spending, although he repeatedly called it investment,’ but this is nothing more than increased Washington spending in the style of the failed stimulus. With a $14 trillion national debt that is growing at a trillion dollars every year, we should reverse the out of control spending we’ve witnessed the past two years and begin to save taxpayer dollars.”

Herman Cain issued a statement that described the state of the nation as“fragile” and claimed that when the President spoke of “investment” we heard “spending” and when he spoke of job creation, we heard “but not in the private sector”. http://on.fb.me/gXSmwL

Ron Paul was unimpressed and in an interview seen below, said that he really didn’t hear anything he liked. He stated that he heard nothing regarding any real new cuts but did hear about more government programs.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told theNBC’s Today Show that there were “some good things” in the speech, but the president missed an opportunity “to take the deficit more seriously.” Obama “showed no leadership on that,” .

Freshman Florida Senator Marco Rubio told reporters “I had hoped to hear the president outline real solutions to fundamentally tackle our national debt crisis and help clear the way for urgently needed job creation,” “Instead, we heard him talk about more ‘investment,’ which is what most Floridians I know would simply call more government spending.”

Michele Bachman provided her Tea Party response to the State of the Union which was addressed here in a previous White House 2012 post. While it had plenty of visual props and offered some compelling factual comparisons, her performance lacked the poise and effectiveness of Paul Ryan’s official Republican response to the State of the Union address. That speech which can be seen here, was quite effective and offered a convicncing rationale for the challenges that they will present to Democrats as he and his fellow Republicans try to approach fiscal responsibility in ways that differ from the President and his Party.

In general, Republicans all heard the same things in President Obama’s State of the Union. They heard little that would dramatically tackle our national debt, curb government overreach and spending and very little in the way of inititatives that would help improve the near term condition of employment and the stagnant economy.

Bookmark and Share

As John Thune Polls South Carolina, Mitch McConnell Urges Him To Run for President

Sen. John Thune flanked by Sen. Min. Ldr. Mitch McConnell

Bookmark and Share Just as unconfirmed reports claim that South Dakota Senator John Thuneis taking his own poll in the important early primary state of South Carolina,Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today revealed that he has urged South Dakota Senator John Thune to run for President. McConnell revealed his support inthe debut of Politico’s new “Playbook Breakfast” forum,an ongoingseries of eventstaking a look at the strategies our elected leaders are taking to move their legislative agenda forward.

During the interview, host Mike Allen asked the Minority Leader, who he saw as a rising star within the GOP. Without hesitation, McConnell answered “John Thune” Allen suggested that as a senator, Thune’sstar has already risen, but McConnell responded by saying that Senator Thune is “new to the American people”.

The Minority Leader called himself a big Thunefan and in addition to describing Thuneas a sharp, capable leader, he also spoke of just how formidable a candidate those who know him, know he can be. McConnell pointed to the fact that in the past election cycle, no one even dared to challenge Thune in his reelection bid for a second term to the Senate.

Thune first came to the Senate by defeating Tom Daschle, who at the time, was the senate’s Democrat Minority Leader.

McConnell’s remarks about Thuneare significant. Duringthe interview, helargelyavoided talk about 2012 and instead played up his desire to focus on getting things done during the course of the two years leading up to the presidential election. For this reason, McConnell dodged more than a few questions asked of him during the Playbook Breakfast interview. But when the opportunity to praise Thunepresented itself, McConnell jumped at the chance and volunteered his support for a Thune candidacy.

Making this even more notable is the fact that during the 2010 midterm elections, McConnell stated that his top priority is making sure that President Obama is not elected to a second term. Since then he has been tryingtosound less partisanand to put the focus on the issues more than the President, butlike a jury being warned by the judge to ignore the remark they just heard, we all know what he said and thatdefeating the President in 2012 is still a priority of the Minority Leader. So for McConnell to place a certain degree of faith in Thune’s ability to be the person who can defeat the President, is a pretty big deal.

McConnell’s remarks help fuel increasing speculation about Thune’spotential candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Thune has himself recently stated that he knows he must make a decision soon and helping to confirm that he is seriously considering it, Race42012reports that Thunehas been polling South Carolina voters with questions that include if they would vote for Thuneagainst President Obama, if the approve repealing Obamacare and if they are supporters of the Tea Party.

Meanwhile, oneof Senator Thune’s top fundraisers, Gregory Slayton,has been making calls of a different type in to New Hampshire on behalf of the Senator.

Bookmark and Share

John Thune Keeps His Hand on the Doorknob to the Oval Office

Bookmark and Share In an interview with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, South Dakota Senator John Thune keeps the door open to a run for President in 2012. He tells the paper

The clock is ticking, and adds I do know that candidates are getting out there, and people are starting to gravitate certain directions.

Thune went on to say

At some point, you have to make a gut-level decision about whether or not you think you have something to contribute and add to the debate, and (if) the country needs something in the form of leadership that you can provide,”

Unlike others such as Mike Huckabee who recently told Fox News Your World host, Neil Cavuto, that he will make a decision within the next 8 months, Thune is cognizant of the fact that while the race for the Republican presidential nomination is wide open right now, Republicans yearning for a candidate to defeat President Obama may be quick to take sides. He also understands that several candidates, such as Mitt Romney are doing all they can to consolidate support as quickly as possible.

If Thune were to enter the race, one person who he would automatically draw early support away from is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the only other potential candidate who has a senate record. Thune could also draw some support away from the social conservative foundations of the candidacies of people like Mike Huckabee and Mike Pence.

Bookmark and Share

To Run or Not To Run? That is the Question

Bookmark and Share Now that the midterm elections have ended and the results indicate that Republican are back off the ropes, the jockeying for position between Republicans who want to run for President in 2012 has begun in earnest and a crowded field it will be.

While Tim Pawlenty, the soon to be former Governor of Minnesota will be releasing his own book in January of 2011 and using the excuse of book tour as reason to traverse the nation, he currently has paid staffers on the ground, organizing things for him in New Hampshire. So he’s running.

Even though no one is talking about it, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is crisscrossing America on a shoe string budget and he is running.

Despite the fact that the G.O.P. took the majority in the House, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence gave up an influential leadership post that is just to die for if you’re looking for power. Yet Mike Pence made it clear that he will be too busy to take on a leadership responsibility in the new House. What will he busy with? His campaign for President.

Mitt Romney stays away from the question and when he can’t avoid it, he answers “it’s too early to talk about the next presidential election”. But as his PAC, Free and Strong America, raises more money than any other candidate’s PAC, Romney most certainly is running. Further evidence of this is Romeny’s attempts to retool his image and give the impression that he understands middle class America.  Hence the shopping trips to Wal-Mart, that he often casually mentions in his speeches. And then there are all those excursions that takes while  flying everywhere in coach instead of first class. With his money, why else would anyone want to be sitting cramped with us folks, when they can be eating full course dinners and sipping champagne in first class?

As I said, he’s running.

The day after the midterm elections, former Senator Rick Santorum traveled to New Hampshire to attend their storied Politics and Eggs breakfast where he stated “We have some real choices to make, and of course, New Hampshire has a disproportionate say in that choice, that’s why I’m here.”

He’s running.

Santorum is not the only one to trek on up to the Granite State. To date between 9 potential candidates, there has been a total of 32 visits there.

Haley Barbour – 3 trips, 3 days
Newt Gingrich – 2 trips, 2 days
Gary Johnson -3 trips, 8 days
George Pataki – 3 trips, 3 days
Tim Pawlenty – 5 trips, 5 days
Mike Pence – 1 trip, 1 day
David Petraeus – 1 trip, 1 day
Mitt Romney – 8 trips, 9 days
Rick Santorum – 6 trips, 6 days

What I find most interesting so far, is who hasn’t been to New Hampshire.

Sarah Palin has been allover the map, but she has not made any grand entrance into the home of the Live Free or Die residents. But the fact that Sarah hasn’t been there, does nott tell us anything. It could either mean that she has no plans to run or that she is in fact considering it but does’nt want to let on by making the hints that such a trip would make.

Other notably absent, often mentioned names include Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Daniels and Huckabee could be playing the same game that Palin may be playing and Huckabee may truly be undecided. After a hardened criminal that Huckabee had given clemency, went and slaughtered several Washington State police officers, his momentum may have come to a standstill.

No matter what, at this point in time, although people like Mitt Romney have dedicated the last two years of their life to running in 2012, no one has given up to do so then Mike Pence. He could have had maintained a truly powerful leadership position as Republican Chairman, especially being in the majority come 2011 but as he stated when he declined to run again for the job. Now that we have restored a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and I have fulfilled my commitment to the Republican Conference, my family and I have begun to look to the future. That future is a run for President, something that will be all the more difficult if the popular Governor from his state, Mitch Daniels, also decides to run. But perhaps Mike Pence knows something that we do not, which is that although Mitch Daniels has never said never to the presidency, he might just not being doing it in 2012.

One thing is for sure though, and that is that the race is on, the positioning has begun and in no time at all the first punches in the Republican presidential primary will soon be thrown.

In the mean time, as relayed by TalkingPointMemo.com, a collection of polls by the Democrat polling service Public Policy Polling released the following breakdown of the shaping potential field of Republican contenders in several states.

Early 2012 Presidential Polls, State by State

No matter how scientific PPP may claim these polls to be, the only thing they do right now is give a good indication of who has more name recognition. But they are still poor examples of national sentiment. Besides PPP did not even mention mention people like Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum in their survey. Still, some of these polls do show the construction of base of support for some that is directly related to the foundation that their previous 2012 campaigns built and which has made some voters loyal to one candidate or another, not merely because of name ID, but for what they stand for. Such is the case in Nevada, Florida, New Hampshire and Connecticut with Mitt Romney and with Huckabee in the Southern states. Nevertheless, these results do give us a cloudy glimpse of the picture and the tough task ahead of some more than others.

In the meantime, everyone is watching closely, how the Republicans lead in the House of Representatives and how the larger size Republican minority in the Senate works with them. Potential Republican presidential contenders are hoping that they lead as they promised and offer America less spending, less government and more freedom. If not they may have to work much harder than they want on polishing up their outsider image and run more like a TEA Party candidate than a Republican candidate. For now it looks like we are on track to pushing the agenda we ran on.  If that is the case, expect a crowded field of candidates who will be trying to lay claim to the conservative revival that put House Republicans back into power.

Bookmark and Share

John Thune Makes The Case For Republicans in 2010

In the closing weeks of the 2010 Midterm elections, Republicans have turned to South Dakota Senator and potential 2012 Republican candidate for President, John Thune to delivery the response to the President’s weekly national address.

In it, Thune discusses how he has cometo see that most Americans would prefer that the President tried to do something to create jobs for Americans rather than campaigning for Democrats in Congress to keep theirs. He further drives the case for Republicans home as he adds“the Obama Experiment has failed,” and citesthealmost 10 percent unemployment rate and rising health care premiums, all while “the president and his Democrat allies in Congress pushed through their $814 billion stimulus bill,” and a healthcare reform bill that was suppose to solve all these problems.

Early Polling Puts the Pressure on Romney for 2012

Bookmark and Share   Even though most states have not even begun to vote in the 2010 midterm elections, the anticipated Republican tsunami that is at the moment undeniable, has many preparing for the new political landscape that we will be operating in post November 2, 2010. I foresee the G.O.P. taking control of the Senate with 51 seats and winning a whopping 62 seats in the House, a gain that would give Republicans the most seats it has had in the House since 1946.

This Republican rejuvenation has made it hard to contain speculation about 2012 and the presidential election which will begin on November 3rd, 2010.

One entity which is not hiding any early interest in the Republican race for President is Gallup, a veteran polling agency of 70 years.

In their most recent poll of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Gallup selected 12 leading Republicans whom are seriously considering a run for president and in many cases have already stomped in New Hampshire and Iowa, the states with first in the nation presidential primary and caucus.

The question Gallup asked was;

Next I’m going to read a list of people who may be running in the republican primaries for President in the 2012 election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, or if you would support someone else. ( The names were given in random order)

The results were as follows:

  •  
    • Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney                19%
    • Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin                                     16%
    • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee                       12%
    • Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich                        9%
    • Texas Congressman Ron Paul                                                      7%
    • Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty                                           3%
    • Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour                                         3%
    • Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum                       2%
    • South Dakota Senator John Thune                                              2%
    • Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels                                                  2%
    • Indiana Congressman Mike Pence                                               1%
    • Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson                        1%

A total of 11% of respondents had no opinion, 7% stated none of them, 4% gave a mix of different names, 1% said any or all of them, and another 1 % volunteered the name of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Gallup also broke these down reults down even and offered the following interesting analysis;

“Romney and Palin are the top choices of both conservative and moderate or liberal Republicans, and in fact their support is similar among both groups. Of the top five candidates, Huckabee receives support that is most divided along ideological lines; he gets significantly more support among conservative Republicans.”

Support for Top Five Potential 2012 Republican Nomination Candidates, by Political Ideology

“Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, likely fares better among conservative Republicans because the group tends to be more religious. Among Republicans who say religion is important in their lives, Huckabee (14%) is essentially tied with Romney (17%) and Palin (16%).”

Candidates Get More Support in Home Regions

“Typically, support for presidential nomination candidates varies geographically, with candidates generally faring best in their home regions. This appears to be the case with most of the current group of GOP contenders, as Palin’s support is highest in the West, and Huckabee gets somewhat higher support in the South. Romney shows particular strength in both the East, where he was governor of Massachusetts, and the West, where he served as chief executive of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games.”

Support for Top Five Potential 2012 Republican Nomination Candidates, by Region

These results are only a snapshoyt of current thinking and that  thinking is surely going to change over the course of two years.  But the current picture offers a glimpse of who has the most to lose and who has the most to gain as the primary process unfolds.  Clearly, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have captured the imaginations of more Republicans than any others, yet Huckabee, Gingrich and Paul have substantial enough support to make Palin’s and Romney’s frontrunner status very flimsy.

Perhaps most telling are Tim Pawlenty’s numbers. 

As a popular Midwest Governor who received national attention when he came close to be John McCain’s pick for Vice President, you would expect him to be much further ahead of the bottom of the pack than he actually is.  This is especially true when you consider that he is openly pursing the GOP nomination much more aggressively than many of the other names on the list.  With only 3% of Republicans uttering his name as their choice, it would seem that Pawlenty probably has a lot more work to do if he expects to catch on, especially as the rest of the field swings into gear.  So far, it would seem that Tim hasn’t been getting as a big a bang for his buck as he should.

But these numbers do not put as much pressure on Pawlenty as they do for Romeny and Palin.  Pawlenty has little room to slide but a lot of room for advancement.  But Palin and Romney are the ones that are faced with insuring that they remain on the top of the hill…………a position that will be tough to hold for long as the rest of the field starts trying to take their place at the top.

Bookmark and Share

Thune Admits He’s Looking To Run For President in 2012

Official photograph of John Thune, U.S. Senator.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Senator Thune admits he is seriously considering a run.

Also admits that Palin will be a factor in his decision.

Bookmark and Share   While the 49 year old Senator from South Dakota is barnstorming the nation to help get a new generation of Republicans elected in 2010, and running in his own reelection campaign, he recently admitted to reporters that he has been discussing the matter of running for President in 2012 with his wife and is seriously considering it.

According to Thune;

“I’d be less than honest if I said I hadn’t thought about it, based upon the amount of encouragement that I’ve received from people across South Dakota and my colleagues here in the Senate and people across the country,” Thune said during a conference call with reporters.

The Senator added;

“It’s something obviously, if you’re interested in maximizing your opportunities to make a difference and to serve, you take a look at,”

Thune stated that he will make a final decision sometime in 2011.

In separate interview, he also made it clear that if Sarah Palin were to run, her entry into the nomination battle would definitely influence his decision.   Thune told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer;

“She is someone who has a tremendous following out there, particularly in some of the early states,”

Thune made it clear that either way,  he will  not be making his decision to run until sometime early next year, but he conceded that the possibility of a Palin run will be a major factor in that decision.  “I think that if she were to get into the race, it would clearly change the equation for a lot of people,” he said.

In the meantime though, Thune is certainly beginning to fulfill the prerequisites for a run.

While not focusing in on Iowa and New Hampshire, in his quest to help congressional candidates get elected this November, he has so far traveled to Ohio, California, Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kansas and in the closing weeks of the campaign cycle, will be visiting several more states.

Thune’s ability to busily campaign for others and step up his name ID outside of South Dakota, while he is up for reelection in South Dakota, is a but unusual but in his case, very understandable.

Due to his popularity back home, John Thune finds himself in the unique position of being only the third Republican to run unopposed for the body since the establishment of direct elections for Senators in 1913.  But the lack of any opposition has not prevented Thune from campaigning for himself in South Dakota, extensively and aggressively.

He has been making his rounds, speaking to voters and spreading his free market, limited government, fiscal responsibility and family values messages. And to help get his message out further, he has punctuated it by spending more than $4.4 million in his opponent less race.  And as of his last financial report, he still has more than $6.9 million in cash on hand to spend however he sees fit.

If Thune is truly considering a run in 2012, he will have to start making moves in that direction well before he announces his decision to do so. Among those moves will be the need to start looking and sounding more Presidential. That will require his getting in the forefront of some of the hot button issues of the day, like spending and the deficit. In August, Thune began to move in that direction when he publicized his own commonsense deficit reduction plan . (See the video below to hear that plan in Thune’s own words). But that will not be enough to make it in what will be a crowded early field of Republican contenders. To survive any early primaries and caucuses, the Senator must carve out his own unique theme and national message, one that presents fresh ideas to old problems and does so in a way that the electorate will see as more appealing than the solutions that frontrunners like Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour will be offering.

In some ways Thune could have a leg up on in the contest for the Republican nomination. His positions on issues like gay marriage and abortione have built him a solid base within the evangelical community, and he is appealing to TEA Party and Libertarians who appreciate his free market values, pro-gun rights, anti-tax message. Yet Thune hardly comes off as an extremist and with his friendly demeanor, small town-America, Mid-West charm and appeal, the right message could just make him a top tier candidate. But for that to be possible, John Thune will have to make the decision to run, sooner rather than later. He won’t have to make that decision public right away, but he has a lot of work to do in distinguishing himself and maneuvering for the race, long before he announces.

 

Bookmark and Share

Is John Thune Running for Reelection or the White House?

Official photograph of John Thune, U.S. Senator.

South Dakota Senator John Thune

Bookmark and Share  In 2004, John Thune ran for the United States Senate and defeated the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Tom Daschle. It was his second run for the office. In 2002, he graciously conceded that election to incumbent Tim Johnson after Democrats involved themselves in a cash for votes scandal on South Dakota Indian reservations. Out of a total of 337,501 votes cast in that race, the illegally purchased votes helped to account for what was an ever so slight lead for Johnson of 524 votes or 0.15%. But two years later, Thune’s political campaigning turned those results around as he beat the powerful Senate Minority Leader. In that election, with 391,118 votes cast, 53,687 more votes than in 2002, Thune won a decisive plurality, besting Daschle by 4,508 votes or 51% of the vote.

Now, six years later, Thune is up for reelection and his opponent is no one.

After six years in the Senate and a conservative record that often receives a 100% ACU rating, Thune has become an impressive figure. And in a state where voters are far from trending Democrat during these Obama years, Democrats have failed to find anyone who is willing to oppose Thune andhave failed successfully  to urge anyone to even wage a token challenge to Thune,

That  lack of Democrat Party leadership and ideological strength has made it possible for Thune to be one of those rare candidates who can take time campaigning for others in not only his own state, but in other states as well. He most recently spent time in Arkansas campaigning and raising money in Arkansas for Republican senate candidate John Boozman who is running against politically wounded, incumbent Democrat, Blanche Lincoln.

But while John Thune’s own reelection remains uncontested, he is certainly not ignoring his place on the ballot this November. To date he has spent over $4.6 million in his opponentless race for reelection. Given the relatively small population of South Dakota and the fact that there is no real race, this is a pretty significant amount of money to spend, especially when you consider that there is still little more than 2 months to go till Election Day. So far, of the expected turnout, John Thune’s campaign expenditures it amounts to about $13.65 per voter.

Of course, this spending and out of state campaigning could be more for 2012 than 2010.

Thune could be actually trying to kill two birds with one stone as he uses his senate reeelction bid to  prepare for a run at the White House or for the number two spot on a Republican presidential ticket. The only hint that could contradict this conclusion is the level of activity in John Thune’s leadership PAC, the Heartland Values PAC. In this election cycle, the last reported total amount of contributions it has made to other candidates totals $185,500, a number which pales in comparison to other Republican presidential contenders like Palin, Romney and Pawlenty.

In general though, John Thune must be watched. Depending on who runs and the combination of those running in 2012, John Thune could be a very viable candidate for the Republican nomination and he is certainly playing his cards right. With relative youth providing some wind at his back, if he does not go for the nomination in 2012, his potential success at a run for the White House in in 2016 or 2020, could rely heavily on what he does in 2012 and how he handles the race.

 

Related Articles

  • McConnell likes Thune as ‘someone out of the blue’ in 2012 (thehill.com)
  • Thune: No timetable for 2012 decision (thehill.com)
  • Thune a Top Tier 2012 Presidential Candidate (politics.usnews.com)
  • Senator Thune Pondering 2012? (dakotavoice.com)
  • 4 reviews of John Thune (rateitall.com)
  • Thune: No decisions yet about 2012 run for president (thehill.com)
  • John Thune’s Deficit Proposal Could Launch a 2012 Presidential Bid (politics.usnews.com)
  • John Thune Scares DNC Executive The Most Among 2012 Prospects (huffingtonpost.com)
  • Bookmark and Share

    “Fair” Game In Iowa

    Bookmark and Share    The Iowa State Fair is for presidential contenders, what Christmas is for children. Every politician who dreams of becoming President, quietly envisions, headlines that read “So-and-So Wins Iowa’s First in the Nation Caucus”. Their dream scenario is a smooth vault to the White House that starts with wins in both Iowa and in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary contests. They all know that unless you get your foot in the door with wins in one or both of theses contests, the rest of the primaries and caucuses are going to provide for one long haul on the way to their Party’s nomination and then on to Pennsylvania Avenue.

    It is for that reason that with just one Iowa Sate Fair to go before the 2012 Iowa Caucus, attending this year’s fair is a must for those enthusiastic candidates who are just itching to announce their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

    This year one candidate who is just dying to scream “I’m your man” couldn’t wait for the Iowa State Fair.

    Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was so anxious that he was standing outside of the fairgrounds waiting for the gates to open.

    On the first day of the fair, Pawlenty was there to flip pork chops and hamburgers, play a few games of ring toss, shake hands, and kiss babies. As well as delivering a speech at the boot h of the Iowa State Republican party, Pawlenty did a number of live radio and television interviews.

    The anxiousness of the Minnesota Governor’s desire to be at the Iowa State Fair on opening was not missed on his interviewers. One live interview produced the following exchange;

    Interviewer: “Let’s get to the politics thing, why do you want to be president ?”

    T-Paw: “Well, I didn’t say I did… “

    Interv iewer: “Yes ya did, you’re here in Iowa. You’re in Iowa, it’s the first day of the fair. (laughs)”

    T-Paw: “In all seriousness I’m going to decide that early next year.”

    Let’s put it this way, Palwenty’s running. Otherwise he would be back home governing Minnesota, not complimenting the corn bread being  baked by Iowa corn farmers who  hope to win a blue ribbonfor their recipes  in the corn bread bakeoff.

    But Pawlenty certainly is not is not alone.

    A recent trip by Newt Gingrich to Iowa’s State Fair makes that his sixth excuse for being in Iowa this year. And with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum buying his ticket to the fair, it is all but assumed that he is building an organization that he expects to propel him into the White House.

    So far, many more names aren’t at the fair than are there, but this week Haley Barbour is scheduled to be in Iowa for an event and chances are you can expect him to be stopping by the ol’ fairgrounds. Mitt Romney has yet to make an appearance and so does John Thune, Ron Paul and the 2008 winner of the Iowa Caucus, Mike Huckabee.

    People like Huckabee and Romney can forgo the fair this year. They have pretty significant organizations there from the last time around. But others have even more work to do than Romney and Huckabee .

    A Recent poll conducted by the Iowa State Republican Party places Huckabee and Romney, once again in first and second place with Huckabee at 22% and Romney at 18%. The surprise third place finisher is Newt Gingrich with 14% and Sarah Palin in a disappointing fourth place with 11%.  Heading up the back of the pack with a relatively substantial showing  is Ron Paul with 5%.

    Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum and a few others received tepid support but not enough to register in the poll. Barbour and Santorum on the other hand did not receive any support. But these results should no be discouraging to any of the contenders.

    In 2008, Mike Huckabee was a dark horse underdog and he took Iowa like a surprise thunderstorm. Additional encouragement can be found for those who did not make the top 5 in this early Iowa poll, is the fact that more people are undecided than anything else. In fact undecided actually wins this poll with 23%. So the truth is, Iowa is providing all the candidates with a “fair” chance in 2012 but it all starts with a trip to the Iowa State Fair.

    Bookmark and Share
    %d bloggers like this: