Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jim DeMint: leading the charge for GOP insurgents

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint got the idea for his Senate Conservatives Fund while making fundraising calls for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2008.  Donors told him they wouldn't give a dime to the GOP until the party returned to its conservative principals.  Marc Theissen examines DeMint's success in an op-ed piece in today's Washington Post:
He began asking: What if there was a PAC that would give only to conservative candidates? The Senate Conservatives Fund was born. DeMint raised $1.3 million in 2009 and has set a goal of raising another $3 million in 2010 -- all of it going to insurgent candidates shunned by the GOP establishment.

His first endorsement was to support a primary bid against one of his then-Republican colleagues, Arlen Specter. DeMint backed former Rep. Pat Toomey (disclosure: I once worked for Toomey), and Specter soon switched parties to run as Democrat. Soon after that, the NRSC recruited popular Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to run for Senate. DeMint backed Marco Rubio, who was then 30 points down in the polls. Rubio soon surged ahead of Crist, and the Florida governor announced last week he was bolting the GOP primary to make an independent run.

DeMint's success in these races gave the Senate Conservatives Fund credibility, and he has since charged into several more races. DeMint endorsed State Assemblyman Chuck Devore in the California Senate primary against liberal Republican Tom Campbell and the NRSC-favored candidate, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. On April 14, DeMint endorsed Colorado District Attorney Ken Buck in his race against the NRSC-favored candidate, former lieutenant governor Jane Norton. And on April 21, he endorsed State Sen. Marlin Stutzman in tomorrow's Indiana GOP primary against the NRSC's candidate, former senator Dan Coats. In a matter of days, DeMint raised nearly $220,000 for Stutzman, which he hopes has made the race competitive. "I'm not sure if I got in soon enough," he says.
Read the whole thing.  And if you want to make a political contribution that will be used to elect true conservatives, consider making one to the Senate Conservatives Fund.

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