Thune’s Fundraising Raises Questions about White House Run

Senator John Thune (R-SD) “isn’t raising money like he’s running for president,” POLITICO reports.

His Friends of John Thune campaign committee raised just $55,080 between Nov. 23 and Dec. 31, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission. His Heartland Values PAC raised an additional $41,070 in that period, for a total haul of $96,150.

That’s less than half of the more than $210,000 Mitt Romney raised in December and the $275,000 that Sarah Palin brought in during the last six weeks of 2010. It lags far behind Newt Gingrich, whose American Solutions 527 group raised $3.8 million in the last quarter of 2010 alone.

What Thune does have: $7.1 million in cash, more than any other potential contender. But he raised most of the money well before spring of 2010, when it became clear that he wouldn’t face a Democratic challenger for his Senate seat. He was up for reelection in 2010 but ended up running unopposed.

While Thune “has been considering a presidential bid, he hasn’t set foot in any of the early states and hasn’t aggressively courted consultants or tried to build infrastructure.”

Still, the money would give him an early advantage in the primary process: He can use all of the money in his Senate campaign account to launch a presidential bid, an advantage not enjoyed by any of his potential rivals who are so far relying solely on PACs.

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