Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a potential 2012 presidential candidate, is scheduled to visit the home state of one of his potential rivals early next year.

Thune will headline the Minnesota GOP's Lincoln-Reagan dinner on Feb. 25, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Minnesota is the home of Tim Pawlenty (R), the state's outgoing governor and a potential presidential candidate.

The South Dakota senator, who became famous for unseating former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) in 2004, said in September that he will decide whether or not to run for president "early next year."

Pawlenty recently expressed regret for not seeking a third term as governor, considering the GOP picked up the majority in the state's legislature. Democrat Mark Dayton defeated Republican Tom Emmer for governor in November.

But he is still planning to go ahead with his national exposure campaign, and is preparing to launch his book tour