Thune Won't Seek GOP Campaign Leadership Slot

Sen. John Thune, who upset some Republicans last month when he suggested that GOP candidates distance themselves from President Bush on Iraq, has decided he won't seek the job of leading the Senate Republican campaign effort in 2008.

Thune, who was considered a front-runner for the post, said the job would involve too much travel and time away from his family. Thune spokesman Kyle Downey said Monday that Thune would continue to raise money for GOP candidates on his own time.

The freshman senator attracted attention in July when he advised candidates running this year to distinguish themselves from President Bush on the Iraq war.

"If I were running in the state this year, you obviously don't embrace the president and his agenda," Thune told reporters at the National Press Club.

Thune later said his remarks were taken out of context and backed away from the comments, saying he supports Bush and the war. Downey said Monday the remarks had nothing to do with Thune's decision not to run.

Several senators had indicated support for Thune's chairmanship, but the senator has said the National Republican Senatorial Committee job would be difficult. In that election cycle, 21 Republicans and 12 Democrats are up for re-election.