COLUMBIA -- Ex-Sen. Fred Thompson has told Republicans that if he decides to run for president, he would enter the race earlier than anticipated -- perhaps as early as the second week of June. A Tennessee Republican said that Thompson has been convinced that he will not win unless he recruits a good staff, and that he cannot recruit a good staff unless he gets in the race.
Several RNC state chairs said that representatives for Thompson had tentatively accepted invitations to candidate events scheduled for later in the fall, a sign they interpreted as evidence of his desire to run. Members of an unofficial Draft Thompson group slid pro-Thompson fliers under the doors of RNC members and journalists attending the state chairs' meeting here. Wednesday night, they held an information dinner that attracted more than 40 Republican officials, including the state chairs of Oklahoma and California.