After spending the past two weeks taking two steps back for every one step forward in terms of making a run for the presidency, South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune has made a decision: he's out! He released a statement Tuesday morning on his public Facebook page:
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.
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.
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.
John and Kimberley
Thune's decision to not get into the race probably comes as a relief to DNC Executive Director Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who in July of 2010 told Sam Stein that a Thune candidacy "genuinely scare[d] her."
"This is personal but John Thune is somebody that I have nightmares about," she said. "I've worked for Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle and he is just a guy you can't ever count out. He has his head down and is doing some policy stuff. [You] just got to start looking at him."
O'Malley Dillon didn't elaborate much further. But her take on Thune, while broadly shared both in Republican and Democratic circles, was a bit more rare and candid than DNC officials generally make.
Thune had previously suggested that America was in need of some "Midwestern common sense type leadership to address the country's problems," but whether or not that meant America was in need of some John Thune remained an open question, especially given his dearth of campaign cash.
Additionally, Thune had recently described his new Senate duties in positive terms, and let reporters know that his wife had been reticent on a national campaign after she read about the way 2008 campaign tome "Game Change" leaned heavily upon the depictions of "an array of candidate-spouse spats."