Thune: 'I am not running for president'
© Greg Nash

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneWeek ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content Overnight Tech: GOP senator presses Apple over phone slowdowns | YouTube cancels projects with Logan Paul after suicide video | CEOs push for DACA fix | Bill would punish credit agencies for breaches GOP senator presses Apple on phone slowdowns MORE (R-S.D.) said Wednesday evening he is not running for president in 2016.

Thune had also been seen as a likely candidate in 2012 before he ruled out a bid.

"I am not running for president," he said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show Wednesday night. "But I know a lot of my colleagues are, and I think that you have to be — you probably have to, if you are going to get serious about it, get going pretty early."

GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are all seen as potential candidates for the GOP presidential nomination. 

Thune, the Republican Conference chairman, was considered a potential 2012 hopeful before announcing, early in the process, that he would not run. In 2011, he said he decided against a run because he feared he would not be able to raise enough money to compete and did not want to let his Senate duties lag. 

Late last year, Thune left the door open slightly to a 2016 run, saying you don't "ever rule out anything in politics."

Even earlier, however, in February of 2013, he said he wasn't planning a bid when asked by an elementary school student. 

"Do I plan on running for president?” Thune asked. “I don't. I enjoy the job I have. And being the president is a very, very hard job."