Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., may be in the running to be presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Thune was mentioned as a possibility soon after it became clear this spring that Romney would win the nomination. But his name has dropped out of the chatter in recent weeks. The New York Times reports Monday that knowledgeable GOP sources say Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are at the top of Romney’s list.
But The Hill offers several pieces of evidence in speculating that Thune’s still in the hunt. In an interview with the news service, he acknowledged he went to Boston to consult Romney’s senior advisers and met Beth Myers, who spearheads Romney’s search for a running mate.
“I met her, but it wasn’t a meeting about what you think it’s about,” Thune said. He won’t say anymore whether he is being vetted, a distinct change from just a month ago when he said he hadn’t been approached by Romney’s vetting team.
Thune has the presidential look you’d expect from central casting. He placed ninth on The Hill’s Most Beautiful list in 2005. Politicos have called Thune a rising star since he took down Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle to win his place in the chamber eight years ago.
Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley said Thune’s appearance on the ticket could put Romney over the top in the key swing state of Iowa, which Obama won in 2008. “He’s got a good following, particularly in the conservative part of Iowa, the western third. He did a lot of work in the caucuses for Romney,” Grassley told The Hill.
“If Iowa is a battleground state, and Wisconsin is in play, he’d be a good candidate. He makes a good presentation.”
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