Another sign of his intentions? Fred Thompson is raising money

Another sign of his intentions? Fred Thompson is raising money

Thompson Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson hasn’t formally announced he’ll run for the Republican presidential nomination — but today he did begin raising money for a prospective bid, USA TODAY Washington bureau chief Susan Page writes. She continues:

In a conference call with about 100 people — many of whom have urged him to jump in the race — Thompson asked for their help in raising funds for a testing-the-waters committee, which is likely to be formed next week. That money could be used for a campaign when and if he’s ready to run.

“I’m not saying anything against any of the candidates, but I think he can fill the vacuum that has not been filled yet on the Republican side,” Mack Mattingly, a former U.S. senator from Georgia who was on the call, says of Thompson. He predicts the actor and former senator “will be just like a magnet” who can attract conservative Democrats and Republicans.

Carl Ricker, a Republican fundraiser and real estate developer from Asheville, N.C., who was also in on the call, says he has delayed giving to other presidential candidates. “I guess there are people out there I could live with,” he says, “but there’s not anyone who made me smile and feel warm inside like Fred does.”

Even before launching a campaign, Thompson finished third in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, at 13% support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. In the survey, taken May 4-6, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani led with 34%; Arizona Sen. John McCain was second at 20%. No other GOP candidate got above 10%.

(Photo of Thompson by Todd Plitt for USA TODAY.)

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