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.

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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.

Jim DeMint & the Potential “the Less We Do, the Better” Presidency

Jim DeMint

Senator DeMint

Bookmark and Share¬†¬†¬† Jim DeMint recently brought the Senate to a halt after threatening to hold all legislation unless it was pre-approved by his office. Initially, he claimed that his reasoning for the unprecedented maneuver was strictly for the purpose of insuring that he and his staff had the chance to fully read through proposed bills before voting on them —- a technicality that seems to be lost on people like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who not long ago told the people that we needed to pass the healthcare bill so that we can see what was in it.

The move was one that did not help to counter the propaganda of Democrats who paint Republicans as ‚Äúthe Party no‚ÄĚ. But in many ways Jim DeMint is on to something here.

While Democrats try to gain traction out of calling the G.O.P. “obstructionists‚ÄĚ, DeMint takes a head on approach when addressing the word and description by explaining that there is a lot of liberal legislation that needs to be responded in the negative and that obstructing detrimental legislation is a positive thing.

But as it turns out Senator DeMint, in an interview on the daily Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association, revealed that there was more behind his reason for preventing the Senate to forge ahead with business as usual.

While talking about the move with host Bryan Fischer, the Senator stated ‚Äúthis idea that government has to do something is not a good idea.‚ÄĚ He went on to say ‚Äúthe less we do, the better‚ÄĚ.

The sentiment was further expressed in the following exchange:

FISCHER: “Do you think some kind of gridlock is possible and what do you think will happen if that ensues?”

DEMINT: “Well I had a group of businessmen tell me the other day ‚Äúif you can just stop the tax increases on us and then have two years of gridlock, that would be the best thing that could happen for business because at least we would know what to expect.‚ÄĚ Right now they don‚Äôt know what the government is going to do to them next. So this idea that government has to do something is not a good idea. So I think the less we do, the better except maybe to dismantle some of the federal programs that are making it harder for America to be competitive”.

 

In a different interview, when DeMint was asked about the issue of obstructionism he responded;

DEMINT: ‚ÄúThe problem is secretly passing bills without reading them, without debating them, and without voting on them. Over 90% of the bills that come through the Senate are never voted on, never debated, they pass by unanimous consent. I‚Äôve never heard one person across America want more bills to pass more quickly.‚ÄĚ

Senator DeMint’s position may seem harsh to those who believe that the government, especially the federal government, must do more….regulate more, control more and tax and spend more, but an increasing number of Americans are coming to see that the less the federal government does, the less things get screwed up. And the fact that Jim DeMint is willing to come out of the political closet and essentially say so, is not only brave, it is commendable.

But Jim DeMint goes beyond just talking the talk. His recent efforts to stop action in the Senate demonstrate that, ironically,  he is a man of action.

As indicated by the trends being seen as we head into the homestretch of the 2010 midterm elections, most Americans might actually appreciate a government shutdown. Under the current makeup of the House, Senate and Obama Administration, it might be the only way to save some money and put an end to reckless spending and the fact that Jim DeMint seems willing to go to such lengths is encouraging.

Doing nothing may not exactly make for a very successful platform for a presidential candidate to run on but if Jim DeMint is willing to keep addressing the issue he, will certainly continue to gain favor with the conservative base of the Party and help force whomever the eventual Republican nominee for President is to at least adopt a minimalists federal platform that will give states more rights and help keep the federal government slim, trim and out the way.

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Thune Admits He‚Äôs 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;

‚ÄúShe is someone who has a tremendous following out there, particularly in some of the early states,‚ÄĚ

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.¬† ‚ÄúI think that if she were to get into the race, it would clearly change the equation for a lot of people,‚ÄĚ 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.

 

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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‚Äôs 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)
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    Jim DeMint…… President or Kingmaker?

    Jim DeMint headshot

    South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

    Bookmark and Share   Jim DeMint is up for his first reelection bid this November, but his race is hardly a serious one. Not that Jim DeMint isn’t taking it seriously, he certainly is. But due to Jim’s popularity in South Carolina, Democrats never took this race seriously. That is why when a destitute man who was brought up on charges related to pornography ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against deMint, he won. So now a virtual unknown and by all indications, unqualified individual is in a race against DeMint that is hardly a contest of wits, no less than a race of ideas.

    But the fact that Alvin Greene, the Democrat in this race, got the chance to challenge DeMint is testimony to the solid support that DeMint has received from his fellow Palmetto State voters. In his first term in office, Jim DeMint has proven himself to be a solid conservative leader. He is a movement conservative who is never missing from any battle that involves social and fiscal conservativism. His solid record is in perfect sync with the majority of South Carolinians. So much so that that Democrats never even tried to unseat him and instead allowed their nomination to fall into the hands of the  mentally challenged Alvin Greene.

    Still no one can take an election for granted like Democrats did before they found out who their nominee was. So Jim is campaigning hard. But with the luxury of what is currently a 42 percent lead over Alvin Greene, Jim DeMint is sharing his clout among other conservatives. His Senate Conservatives Fund raised $4 million in the current election cycle, an amount greater than any other Senate leadership political action committee.

    Some of that money has been used by DeMint in shaping the current class of conservative candidates that are running in November‚Äôs elections. More so¬†than any¬†other Senator, Jim has gone out on a few limbs and endorsed underdogs who were not the establishment’s choices. In most cases he supported TEA Party candidates and those whom he felt best represented conservative values as opposed to Party line allegiances.

    He endorsed and donated over $58,000 to the candidacy of Washington state‚Äôs Dino Rossi who recently became incumbent Democrat Patty Murray‚Äės senate opponent.

    14 months ago Jiom DeMint was one of the first Republicans to publicly endorse the young anti-establishment,  former Florida Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio, against the incumbent Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. Crist was the hands on favorite for the US Senate nomination and the establishment’s choice for the nomination. But when the young, conservative Marco Rubio took to the stage, DeMint threw his weight behind the better candidate instead of the establishment candidate, a man who has since turned his back on those republicans who supported and is now running against the GOP

    Some of the largest donations DeMint has made have gone to; Marco Rubio, $421,000, Tea Party backed candidate for the US Republican Senate nomination, Ken Buck of Colorado, $375,000, $312,000 to former Nevada state legislator and Tea Party backed Sharron Angle, and $217,000 to Salt Lake City lawyer and Tea Party backed Senate candidate Mike Lee. All were underdogs in their respective races for their state’s Republican senate nominations, and all won. Other DeMint backed winners include Republican Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

    The Rand Paul endorsement came after DeMint‚Äôs boss in the senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out and endorsed Paul‚Äôs opponent.¬† Being that Kentucky is the state that McConnell represents, his making a choice between Paul and his opponent Trey Grayson was not unusual. But DeMint‚Äôs endorsement of Paul, a day after McConnell‚Äôs endorsement of Grayson, was seen as a slap in Mitch McConnell‚Äôs face. But that did not stop DeMint from intervening in the Kentucky race and providing the kind of financial and public support that made Rand Paul the eventual nominee over McConnell’s choice for the job.

    After defying McConnell the privilege of his preferred nominee in his own sate, many believe that Jim DeMint is preparing for a challenge to McConnell‚Äôs leadership role in the Senate. The idea is not unrealistic. McConnell has been a weak leader. While he has managed to keep Republicans from wandering off the reservation and remain in lockstep opposition to the Obama/Pelosi/reid regime‚Äôs agenda, McConnell has failed to offer bold alternatives that would allow Senate Republicans to run for cover from the charge of being obstructionists and the Party of ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ with no ideas.¬†

    DeMint however campaigns against the Democrat leadership by taking a hard-line that claims the liberals leading the Democrat Party are taking us down a road to socialism.   But he also offers alternative solutions. Between that and his ability to sure up the conservative base, DeMint could give McConnell a run for his money in a leadership challenge. This is especially the case if many of those whom DeMint endorsed become freshmen senators in January of 2011. And if enough of them get elected to allow Republicans to take back control of the senate, you can more than likely count on many of those new faces to support DeMint for Senate Majority Leader.

    Of course DeMint could forego a leadership battle and parlay the support of his newfound senate friends into support for a presidential bid.

    That will be a tougher goal to achieve though.

    DeMint is just right for the majority of the electorate in South Carolina and the  Southen U.S., but his conservative credentials might be too hard for many in the rest of the nation to swallow. The left will have a field day with his hard-line record. Still he could make quite a difference in the race for for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency itself.

    If DeMint ran in the GOP primaries, South Carolina would, for the most part be out of play. This would diminish the chances of Republican like Romney, Barbour, Palin and Gingrich, to begin to lock up the South in the South Carolina primary that is normally a precursor to primaries in Florida and then the influx of the rest of the Southern states on Super Tuesday.

    Outside of the South though, DeMint may not be able to play as well as well as a candidate like Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, but he can leave a candidate like Barbour tattered as he enters contests against someone like Romney in the Northeast and Midwest.

    DeMint’s greatest chance for success in the Republican presidential process could come in helping to choose who the next President is.

    If DeMint comes out and endorses a candidate such as Romney, that endorsement could go a long way to help him do far better than he did in the South last time and it could make the difference between winning and losing the South Carolina primary.

    No matter what though, Jim DeMint has positioned himself as one of the most influential Senators in the game of electoral politics that there is these days. His ability to raise money and sway conservatives makes him a very real contender for the GOP presidential nomination and without a doubt a kingmaker in waiting.

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