Iowans have a long history of helping their neighbors in times of need. When it became apparent that Thune could knockoff then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, a number of Iowans were willing to help by contributing to his campaign or by crossing the boarder to make phone calls or to knock on doors.
If Thune opts to run for president in 2012 he will need to convince Iowans that he’s the right guy to take on President Obama in the fall of 2012 and the right guy to lead our nation moving forward. That will be a whole different ball game than his 2004 campaign, but Thune does have a couple of advantages since he represents a neighboring state.
Many Iowans already know who John Thune is and the most conservative lot of caucuses goers reside in northwest corner of the state. Those people get their news from South Dakota, so not only have they seen Thune’s campaign ads, but they are also kept abreast of what he’s doing. Thune will have a better “neighbor” advantage than Pawlenty or Bachmann would have from being for Minnesota because of his proximity to the most conservative part of the state.
There is little doubt that Iowa caucus goers will be attracted to his values and demeanor. It also doesn’t hurt that he looks like he comes out of central casting. He just looks like what you think a president should look like. While Thune has a lot of things going for him, he voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in the fall of 2008. It is very likely that Thune will be the only candidate to have voted for TARP. That’s not a position that’s going to endear one’s self with conservatives and tea party activists in Iowa.
Thune might also struggle at raising the necessary funds to run a national presidential campaign. However, with over $7 million in his Senate campaign account, he has plenty of money already in the bank to fund an Iowa campaign. In fact, the $7 million Thune already has is the same amount of money that Huckabee raised for his presidential campaign through the end of 2007.
If Thune is serious about his presidential aspirations, he will need to do well in the caucuses. Outside of speculation, he has yet to even stick his toe into Iowa’s political waters. Unless that changes, he’s in danger of falling off of the list.
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