Thompson won’t show at GOP convention

Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, expected to formally announce Thursday his entry into the presidential race, won’t be making an appearance at this weekend’s California Republican Convention in Indian Wells, said campaign spokeswoman Karen Hanretty.

There’s been talk that Thompson would show up but Hanretty says the candidate has a packed schedule on the other side of the country.

He’ll be on the Jay Leno show on Wednesday, Hanretty said, and then Thompson will head for the early primary states. He starts a four-day bus tour through Iowa on Thursday and then he’ll head to New Hampshire and South Carolina. (The Iowa caucus is set for Jan. 14; New Hampshire’s primary is Jan. 22 and and South Carolina will hold its election Jan. 19. California and 19 other states will follow on Feb. 5 in what’s being called super-duper-Tuesday.)

“He’ll make it out there soon,” Hanretty said.

That leaves the state’s most loyal Republicans with just one presidential hopeful on the convention agenda. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the one-time leader of the Republican pack, will deliver the keynote speech during lunch Saturday.

“We might as well have Duncan Hunter,” said Jon Fleischman, editor of the Flash Report and a former executive director of the California Republican Party. He’s referring to California Rep. Duncan Hunter, an El Cajon Republican considered to have little chance of winning the party’s nomination.

As a sidenote, Hanretty, a former communications director for the California Republican Party, started her new job today as spokeswoman for the Thompson campaign. According to the Flash Report, Hanretty will work with Todd Harris as the campaign’s communications director. Harris also worked for the party and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during the 2003 recall.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen