Sioux Falls, SD
After weighing his options for more than five months, South Dakota Senator John Thune will not run for president.
"I was conflicted about this decision for some time and so a lot of it comes down to your own gut," Thune told KELOLAND News shortly after his announcement.
Thune announced his decision this morning on his facebook page and personal website.
Thune says the the fight for the economy, fiscal responsibility and the nation's future is in the Senate and not a two-year campaign for president.
Thune's encouragement to run for president from fellow South Dakotans and his colleagues in Washington goes back to last year before his re-elecition campaign when he ran unopposed. And while he knows his decision may have disappointed some supporters he believes it was the best decision for his family, constituents and the work he wants to accomplish for the country.
Thune has been a rising Republican star ever since he beat Senator Tom Daschle in 2004, but he says right now he is happy with his political career in Washington.
"In politics so much of it is about timing. I've been through that before and sometimes the timing is right and sometimes it's not. We just did not sense that this time that the timing was right to pursue this kind of national campaign, and wanted to stay focused on the job at hand in the Senate," Thune said.
Thune serves on the budget committee and the finance committee, and is the fourth-ranking Republican in the Senate directing the party's policy decisions. He believes he can have a more substantial impact on the nation's problems there than on the presidential campaign trail.
"In terms of the battles that are ahead of us on spending, and debt, and jobs, and the economy particularly in the finance committee, budget committees where I'm now going to be doing some work, there's just tremendous challenges and opportunity. It's going to be a place where we're really going to get a chance to mix it up," Thune said.
And while he's gone back and forth for several months, he's at peace with his final decision about staying in the Senate.
"Part of that comes back to just the tie I feel, and the sense of responsibility, and obligation, and duty to my job in the Senate."