The watch is on for which candidates will be throwing their hats into the ring for the GOP presidential nomination. A name that gets kicked around a bit, but isn't among the top tier is John Thune. Thune pulled of a major upset when he beat Senate Majority leader Daschle in 2004.
Thune has a record of a fiscal conservative, but has come under the ire from parts of the Tea Party when he originally stated he wouldn't back the earmark ban. By the time the vote came around, he did indeed back the ban. To me this was a major sign that he was seriously considering a run. While there are legitimate arguments of why a ban on earmarks are a bad idea, most of the Tea Party activists are not interested in supporting someone who makes them.
Senator Thune has been putting out feelers in New Hampshire about fundraising prospects and has made two appearances in Iowa in the past week. The first primary and caucus states, which with a good showing can propel a lesser known candidate to a good showing in the primaries. This is what happened to Mike Huckabee, although he didn't end up getting the nomination but no one thought he would come in second when he started. One difference being that Thune already has $7 million in the bank, far more than Huckabee would have started out with. That money could by some ad time that will get his name out there and help with the all important get out the vote effort.
Thune will make an interesting candidate, he has solid conservative cred on many issues and will help keep the debate to the right. Which in the Tea Party climate that is what is going to be necessary in order to come out on top in the primary contest. My biggest issue with Thune is that he is a career politician, who hasn't really had jobs outside of the government, he served under Reagan at the Small Business Administration, was the executive director for the Republican Party in North Dakota, and served as the State Director of the Railroad among a few other positions before running for Congress.