Not much of a surprise, this outcome, as he'd been signaling for weeks he didn't have the fire in the belly for a presidential bid, but South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) made it official today: he's not running for president.
"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," he said in a statement released by his senate campaign organization.
"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," he said.
Through a process that "involved lots of prayer," Thune and his wife and two children considered his path forward and were "reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight."
"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," he said, explaining why he was choosing to focus on his current job, rather than seeking a new one.
Thune's declaration leaves a full field of potential Republican presidential contenders, some of whom also have said they will soon declare their intentions one way or another. At a minimum, the field of those considering a bid includes: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Donald Trump, John Hunstman, Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee and John Bolton.
Image credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen