Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., on Wednesday said that the strategy behind his and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's endorsements of some of the most conservative, tea party-friendly Republican candidates this year is to remake their party and restore it to its former greatness.
DeMint told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "what we're trying to do in this election is reshape the Republican Party where it began - a limited government party, less taxes, less spending."
The first-term senator and former congressman said, "what I've tried to do, and others like Sarah Palin have tried to do, is give Republicans and Americans good choices in the primaries so that on Election Day they can go out and not just vote against someone; they can vote for someone."
The South Carolinian gave early endorsements to a series of GOP senatorial candidates, many of them originally underdogs, including county DA Ken Buck in Colorado, whose lead over unelected Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has been tightening; former judge Joe Miller, who upset incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the primary only to face her again in the general election as a write-in candidate; and Rand Paul, who leads his Democratic opponent in Kentucky.
DeMint also gave crucial early backing to Christine O'Donnell, who scored a shocking primary victory over Delaware congressman and former Gov. Michael Castle, a political powerhouse who has held five different elective offices in the state going back to the 1960s; former Florida House of Representatives Speaker Marco Rubio, who has surged into a comfortable lead over ex-GOP Gov. Charlie Crist; and former Rep. Pat Toomey, who holds a slim lead over Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania.
The popular senator told Hannity he will "probably" continue to fight against moderate elements of the Republican Party establishment - apparently suggesting he might even consider leaving the GOP if it returned to its big-spending ways of the Bush years.
"Again, I don't want to be in Washington another six years and watch the Republican Party betray the trust of the American people again," said DeMint, who is expected to cruise to an easy re-election himself next month.
"I mean, we had the White House; we had a majority in the House and the Senate. And we voted for more spending and more earmarks. Most of our senior members seemed to be focused on taking home the bacon - I'm not gonna be in a Republican Party like that."
What is happening across the country this election year, DeMint warned, was that "we're seeing America unite - not just Republicans - against what's happening in Washington, and they're looking for some good choices."
According to DeMint, there is no option this year but to support even some of the more liberal Republican nominees because "the Democrat Party is to the left of Europe."
Former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Tuesday used her Facebook page to boost the GOP Senate candidacies of Sharron Angle, who faces Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada; John Boozman, who seeks to oust Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas; Carly Fiorina, who is trying to retire California's longtime Sen. Barbara Boxer; John Raese, battling West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin; as well as Rand Paul and Pat Toomey.
The staunchly pro-life DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund is running a
new TV ad in Alaska attacking Lisa Murkowski for supporting taxpayer-funded abortions. DeMint called on the Senate Republican Conference to remove Murkowski from her post as ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, because of her decision to run as a write-in after losing the GOP nomination.
Murkowski was first appointed to the Senate by her father, scandal-plagued former Gov. Frank Murkowski, who was beaten by Palin in the GOP primary in 2006.
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