[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/23/thune.jpg caption="South Dakota Sen. John Thune is a potential 2012 presidential candidate."]Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney, who has racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles over the last year assisting Republican candidates, will make perhaps his most high-profile stop of the 2010 election cycle later this month when he travels to South Dakota to raise money for Sen. John Thune.
Romney will headline a fundraiser for Thune - another telegenic Republican on the list of potential 2012 White House candidates - at a Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls on Feb. 19, a Romney aide told CNN.
With a flurry of campaign stops and financial assistance, Romney put his stamp on the three biggest GOP victories of the last year: the Virginia and New Jersey governors races and the special Senate election in Massachusetts.
The presidential buzz around Thune has grown louder over the last year thanks to a visit to Iowa, a new position in the Senate GOP leadership and a 2010 campaign war chest that keeps growing despite the lack of a serious Democratic challenger. Thune ended 2009 with more than $6 million in the bank.
"After grueling Senate elections in 2002 and 2004, Sen. Thune has learned not to take any chances and to always be prepared," said Thune campaign manager Justin Brasell. "At $100/ticket this event is as much about generating enthusiasm and volunteer sign ups as it is about raising money. We want our entire Republican ticket to win in South Dakota this cycle from the Senate and Gubernatorial races on down, and this event will be a great way to kick off the election year."
The fundraiser was first reported by the National Journal.