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Associated Press, Published December 24 2010

South Dakota's Thune to headline Minnesota GOP dinner

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — For the second straight year, a Republican drawing 2012 presidential buzz will headline the Minnesota GOP's winter fundraising dinner.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune will give keynote remarks at the annual Lincoln Reagan dinner in late February. Last year, party faithful heard from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

State GOP deputy chairman Michael Brodkorb said the invitation was extended to Thune because he's seen as "a leader in our party." Brodkorb said the mention of Thune in a 2012 context only increases interest in his speech.

Thune has said he is giving thought to running for president but is nowhere near a decision. He won a second Senate term last month.

Minnesota may have a homestate candidate in the White House race if departing Gov. Tim Pawlenty gets in as expected.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.