John Thune Not Running for Republican Nod for President

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2011   |   1:20PM   |   Washington, DC

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who is pro-life, said today he will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012 to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Thune becomes the second potential presidential candidate, following Mike Pence, to say he will not mount a campaign.

Thune posted a message on his Facebook page today with the announcement, saying he will stay in his South Dakota Senate seat, and citing family considerations.

“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,” he said. “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,” he added.

Thune said: “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.”

Thune’s name had been tossed around political circles during the last several weeks and he made what was a well-received speech at the annual CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, event. Some Republicans expected he would run, but others pointed to him not having invested much time or energy in building a potential campaign apparatus in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Thune has a very strong pro-life record and went on record recently saying there should be no truce on pro-life issues.

“I think there are issues that people feel deeply about, and they’re profound issues. The issues of life. The issues of family. And I don’t think we can minimize those in the debate,” Thune told CBN News last week. “For any conservative or any Republican to get elected to office, you have to have the support and hopefully the energetic support of people who care passionately about the social issues. So, they’re important. And we shouldn’t trivialize that.”

“With regard to the economic issues, fiscal issues, I think most social conservatives agree that we want a government that’s smaller, a government that’s responsive and accountable and all that,” Thune told CBN. “But, we also need to recognize that there are important issues that impact the basic glue, the foundation that holds our country together, and that comes down to the family unit. And we can’t ignore those.”

With Thune deciding against a run, that still leaves a large pool of potential candidates to take on Obama including the main four most people are talking about — Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.

They could be joined by lesser-known potential candidates Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Herman Cain — though some political observers say a new face could find significant support in a field that hasn’t excited grassroots pro-life and conservative voters yet.