DeMint Now Considering GOP Run Due To Weak Field

Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011 07:07 PM

By Dan Weil

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Those Republicans who don’t like the current conservative entrants in the presidential race may soon have another option. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., says he is thinking about joining the fray.

Conservative activists are urging him to run, and he’s discussing the issue with his wife, DeMint told The Hill. He says he will pray about the decision in deference to all those who back him.

DeMint, one of the strongest tea partyers around, had earlier signaled that he wouldn’t run. But many Republican conservatives complain that among the crop of definite and likely candidates, there isn’t anyone on the right who can beat President Barack Obama.

“It’s humbling,” DeMint tells The Hill. “Out of respect for the people who have asked us to think about this, that’s what we’re going to do. I don’t want to imply that I’m changing in mind, but I want to consider what all these folks are doing.”

Some conservatives see DeMint as a combination of former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, a fiery conservative, and iconic ex-President Ronald Reagan. Supporters view him as one of the few Republicans who can attract support from both social and fiscal conservatives.

Two substantial efforts have emerged among Republicans to draw DeMint into the race.
Legendary strategist Richard Viguerie has organized one of them. The other comes from Conservatives4DeMint, which says it comprises 4,700 members and regional coordinators in 35 states.

As for Viguerie, he said in a conference call Saturday, “I’ve asked him about the presidential thing twice in the last five or six weeks,” according to The Hill.

“I think he’s giving it serious consideration. Hopefully this will push him over the line and give him the encouragement that there would be a strong base of support.” DeMint would instantly become the party’s front-runner, Viguerie said. “He would be the dominant movement conservative leader.”

And as for Conservatives4DeMint, its national director Angela Toft told The Hill that what started in California as a local fan club has mushroomed around the country. “A groundswell erupted,” she said.



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