Thompson hitting early-voting states


Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) will make trips to South Carolina and New Hampshire next week, The Hill has learned.

Thompson has been flirting with a presidential run and in most circles his entrance into the race is already a foregone conclusion.

Scheduling trips to the first and second primary states is sure to add to that speculation.

A South Carolina GOP official confirmed that Thompson will be in the Palmetto State Wednesday for a roundtable luncheon with the state party.

After the South Carolina stop, Thompson will travel to New Hampshire. There the former senator is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Republican state senators and have a private sit-down with the Manchester Union-Leader newspaper, according to a state GOP official.

The campaign trip comes after a Tuesday swing through Nashville, Tenn., where grassroots supporters are trying to drum up a warm showing for the presumed candidate even as he lands at the airport.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful for him to be greeted with a real Tennessee welcome so that anyone following his swing through these states will get the message (loud and clear) that this is a Favorite Son Tennesseans are proud to see moving toward the White House,” grassroots activist and longtime supporter Barbara Outhier said in an e-mail obtained by The Hill.

Thompson has been putting pieces into place as only a candidate would — hiring finance directors and scheduling fundraisers.