Romney wins endorsement from Thune

By PHILIP ELLIOTT | November 23, 2011 | 1:30 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a rising star in the Republican Party, is prepared to endorse presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Thune was set to endorse Romney during a campaign appearance in Iowa on Wednesday. Thune, who weighed a presidential bid of his own this year, says in a statement that Romney won't back down and has the record to unseat President Barack Obama.

Thune is merely the latest high-profile Republican to back Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who opened the week with the backing of another emerging star in the GOP, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

The Des Moines Register and The Sioux City Journal first reported the endorsement and Romney aides immediately confirmed the news.