November 30th, 2009
03:48 PM ET
4 years ago

DeMint takes heat for downplaying his home state

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has earned a national following among conservative Republicans.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint has earned a national following among conservative Republicans.

(CNN) – The Democrat hoping to unseat Jim DeMint next year took direct aim at the conservative South Carolina senator for the first time on Monday, accusing him of putting "personal political ambitions" ahead of his constituents.

Chad McGowan, a trial attorney who formally entered the 2010 race in October, pounced on a remark DeMint made on a recent conference call with supporters that was printed Sunday by McClatchy newspapers.

"All of you all over the country - please remember that Senate seats are not about a particular state," DeMint said on the call, according to McClatchy. "They're about our country. Every vote I take is not about South Carolina. It's about the United States of America."

McGowan has avoided confronting DeMint directly since jumping into the race, but he said in a statement he was "disappointed" by the comments.

"It's the same story over and over," McGowan said. "Jim DeMint and his personal political ambitions come first. In times like these, we need TWO Senators who care about South Carolina, who advocate for South Carolina, and who produce for South Carolina. If we had that, we would be making real progress on some of the problems we face in our schools, employment, and crime."

He also knocked DeMint for spending time making endorsements in prominent Republican primaries around the country. The Republican has thrown his support behind conservative Senate hopefuls Marco Rubio in Florida and Chuck DeVore in California.

"An election in California or New York doesn't matter to the man or woman in South Carolina who can't find a job," McGowan said. "This is a question of priorities."

DeMint response after the jump

UPDATE: DeMint campaign manager Luke Byars responded to McGowan in an e-mail to CNN.

"Senator DeMint votes for freedom and what is in the best interest of the United States of America and that is always in the best interest of South Carolina," Byars said. "While Senator DeMint put forward a jobs plan that would have helped thousands of South Carolina businesses and families by lowering taxes, this personal injury lawyer would have joined his liberal friends in Washington on the failed stimulus that have left South Carolina at record high unemployment.

"And he just announced his support for Obama's government takeover of health care that would kill more jobs, raise taxes, raise health premiums, and put Washington bureaucrats between South Carolinians and their doctors."


Filed under: Chad McGowan • Jim DeMint • South Carolina
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Chad

    This is ridiculous. I am certainly no fan of DeMint, but US senators are representatives to the federal government and thus should base their votes on the interest of the whole country. How does this comment reflect his own political ambitions??? If that were the case, wouldn't he have said the opposite? After all, only SC voters can vote for SC senators. This is opportunism by McGowan.

    November 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Bob in Pa

    "a trial attorney" says it all. That is the last thing we need anywhere near the Congress and Senate.

    November 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I love how these republicans have such high hopes for 2010. They are going to be in for a rude awakening. In this case, Mr. McGowan is absolutely correct that Sen. Demint puts getting re-elected over everything else.

    November 30, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Sen. DeMint is a national figure and, as such, has a national constituancy in addition to his South Carolina consituancy. Helping fellow consevatives win elections around the country is part of his job as MY SENATOR. Is Chad McGowan ot soliciting or accepting funds from out of state liberals? I DOUBT IT!

    November 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Kevin Denver Colorado

    This man, like all republicans is simply not smart enough to do the job he was elected to do. Like children they really do not see the fallacy of their arguments and have no idea that they are as transparent as a sheet of glass to anyone with any brains at all!

    November 30, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. barbara

    A trial atty? Would bet he is all for health care refom but not tort reform!. I am from SC and I will vote for Sen. DeMint because I do feel that he has our best interests in mind when he votes on anything. I agree with everything that this man is about and I say Kudos to the man who stands up against all else to do what he thinks is best for us all.

    November 30, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. S M R

    The only priority for the GOP leaders is to receive the biggest envelope possible from the Lobbiests.

    November 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Ted from Calif.

    DeMint is just another Refusenik right-wing radical idiot out to promote his own agenda. The people of South Carolina deserve better than this degenerative.

    November 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. yuri

    The demented DeMint needs to be negatively needled and necked out at the earliest opportunity or PDQ.

    November 30, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. SocialismBad

    A Democrat knocking a Republican for caring about the United States??!! Maybe the Democrats should START caring about the future of the USA? Their insane spending sure doesn't show they care.

    November 30, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Ted from Calif.

    DeMint needs to worry about the needs of South Carolina and stay out of other states' politics. We surely don't need this idiot's opinion. Fiorina and Whitman are the dumb and dumber twins. Demint the dumbest is not needed.

    November 30, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Palin/Bachmann 2012

    Is DeMint trying to steal the limelight from more deserving Republicans? He should be ashamed of himself.

    November 30, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. independent

    Demint is hoping to tap into the national fund raising that almost got another right wing conservative elected in NY 23.

    These guys are not about local politics. They are appealing to a national agenda and national money. Demint probably doesn't know the price of gasoline or a loaf of bread in his home town.

    November 30, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Comments obviously taken straight from the Democratic playbook. McGowan did, however, forget to link DeMint to George Bush.

    November 30, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. gt

    that a boy ,, bring in barbara boxer and harry reid to campaing with you... you tell em,,,

    November 30, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Doc in Virginia

    Jim Deminted....holds up nominations of important positions in the administration...is a tea party prostitute who uses them as way to maintain a base, no matter how dangerous and stupid their rhetoric is (and its plenty stupid), has the C Street connection along with its hypocritical policies of do as we say, not as we do...is a slave to the insurance companies and any other business except the ones who would create jobs in his home state and is one of the authors of the 'destroy the administration' even if it means success in stabilizing the economy. He isnt just bad for South Carolina, he's bad for the entire country. He is a traitor to the Constitution and the oath he took to have that seat in Washington. Pure hustling arrogant trailer park in a suit...Palin's male alter-ego.

    November 30, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Jamie

    Isn't it time for some change in South Carolina. Obviously the GOP is doing the state NO GOOD!

    November 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Chrynoble

    I am a very liberal democrat here, so I hate to say this but DeMint is right.

    The House was envisioned by our founders to ensure that the shared resources of the nation where appropriately collected from, and administered to the states, and the Representatives there are suppose to look out for their constituents best interests. This is why bills dealing with taxation and spending originate in the house (or at least they are suppose to).

    The Senate was envisioned to guide the nation as a whole on issues such as foreign policy (including military matters) and national issues that didn't affect one state more or less than another (shipping issues then, the internet now for example).

    Of course a lot has changed since the first plan was laid out, mostly I think because people don't understand the reasons for the different chambers of congress, or in fact the different divisions of our government all together.

    November 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Cara

    McGowan sounds like someone I can support. Where can I donate?

    November 30, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Andrew

    DeMint , another Republican and failed elected official who puts his own self-righteous stupidity first over the citizens of South Carolina. I'm growing tired of the incompetent legislators on both sides , right or left.

    This country is better than this, South Carolina deserves better : Republican or Democrat. I've realized that American is buckling, the conversation in America has become so tainted and filled with stubborn unintelligent fools that actual commonsense and reality has been replaced with fear, religious babble, constant lies, and irrational decisions.

    America, god can't save you! Your gonna have to pull yourself up for now on. Take some responsibility! Oh yeah, you'll be judged one way or another, so don't go hiding behind the death of your saver. In my mind no one will protect you from the wrongs you have done. That would be rather unjust.

    -later

    November 30, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Sea.gem

    Another trial attny getting ready to scam the country...wasn't Edwards enough...these guys aren't evenon the table for health reform and savings...of course they do give Obama and the Dems lots of money to keep their wallets fat...notice his first volley is an attack NOT a statement about his own proposals ot ethics...what a shame.

    November 30, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Clint

    MCGowan, use this two faced comment to "break" DeMint and "make it his Waterloo."

    November 30, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Task

    DeMint's opponent is a moron. DeMint was right. Senators may be elected by the state, but they serve the entire country. We need senators who do what's best for the nation instead of taking bribes for their own states.

    November 30, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    Much to do about nothing! DeMint is correct. The Senate votes on Bills of of national value like healthcare, and security If McGowan doesn't know that, he need not run! They are called US Senators for a reason! McGowan might be better off running for SC state Senator, if he only wants to vote on state matters! There is no heat to take. There is however, some misinformed hot air from McGowan!

    November 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. LacrosseMom

    EVERY GOP lawmaker is in the pocket of Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance..... etc., they do not work for We, the People, but for the corporations!

    November 30, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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