Hmmmmmmmm

The Thune forces have been loathe to discuss his potential 2012 candidacy while there was still a possibility — albeit it a VERY slim one — that he could draw a serious Democratic challenge for his re-election race this fall.

But, privately, those close to Thune acknowledge that he has been receiving considerable encouragement to run and is likely to take a hard look at a national bid. Those same sources caution, however, that he remains entirely undecided and his decision will be heavily shaped by what he hears and sees in the coming months. (They also note that Thune will keep an eye closely on South Dakota to ensure he doesn’t repeat the mistakes of then Sen. George Allen in 2006.)