(CNN) - Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune accepted an invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February.
Thune spokesman Kyle Downey said the senator turned down previous requests to appear because of scheduling conflicts. The state's junior senator is sometimes mentioned as a presidential candidate in 2012, and the high profile conference has become a national stage for presidential hopefuls.
This year's list of speakers includes other possible 2012 candidates including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
A Gallup survey of Republicans released Monday showed Thune has a ways to go to boost his national profile. He placed 12th in name recognition among the 13 candidates surveyed.