Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., announced Tuesday that he won't be running for president next year, becoming one of the first high-profile potential contenders to take himself out of the mix.
Thune, a potential candidate for advancement in the Senate leadership shuffle set off by next year's retirement of deputy Republican leader Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., posted his decision on his Facebook page. He said it was the result of months of deliberations between himself and his wife, Kimberley.
"I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate," Thune wrote. "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 joked about his underdog status as a presidential contender when he spoke at the Conservative Action Political Conference earlier this month.
"It’s fair to say that I don’t have the same national name recognition as some of my more famous Republican colleagues have,” he said. “I’ve never had a book signing. I’ve been to Iowa plenty of times, but it’s usually on my way to South Dakota. The closest I’ve come to being on a reality TV show is C-SPAN’s live coverage of the Senate floor.''
Thune served three terms in the U.S. House before his first Senate bid in 2002. He lost but then came back two years later to defeat Ex-Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
See Hotline's On Call for more on Thune's decision and it's implications.