September 15th, 2010
02:21 PM ET
4 years ago

Facing backlash, DeMint has message for GOP

Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday he doesn’t think Tea Party backed candidates will spoil the GOP’s chances for gaining a majority.
Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday he doesn’t think Tea Party backed candidates will spoil the GOP’s chances for gaining a majority.

Washington (CNN) - Republican Senator Jim DeMint conceded to CNN that he is trying to send a message to the GOP establishment by backing conservative candidates like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, but rejects concerns that his moves could rob the GOP of the Senate majority.

"The GOP establishment is out," DeMint said in an interview in his Senate office, "what we're going to do is help the American people take back their government, and I hope the Republican Party will be the party that carries that banner."

DeMint was an early supporter of O'Donnell, a candidate many Republicans did not want, because they fear she is too conservative to win in a blue state like Delaware.

DeMint conceded that it will be "tougher" for O'Donnell to win than it would have been for her defeated, moderate opponent, Rep. Mike Castle, but he also argued that "Americans who live in Delaware love their country and they're not stupid."

"We're at the edge of a cliff of financial disaster in our country. I think the terms of moderate or conservative really trivialize something. The stakes are too high to use those terms. This is really a difference between survival and bankruptcy as a nation. People of Delaware understand that New Hampshire all over the country so I think this year is going to be different," said DeMint.

"They're not going to be looking for a candidate who is kind of mushy and you can't tell the difference between him and Nancy Pelosi," he said.

Despite his efforts to send a message to the GOP establishment, he says he still supports his own Senate GOP leadership.

"Mitch McConnell is a great leader I think what he needs is a good team around him so he can move us forward and John Cornyn is a great friend and a great conservative and I think they've made the best decisions they could about who they thought could win the election. but America has changed. there is an awakening that's going on that has inspired people who have never been involved with politics to take a sign and go out and stand in the street and say no more," said DeMint.

Before the interview, a GOP source told CNN they were frustrated with DeMint because he was pushing for purity over practical – that by backing someone like O'Donnell with less of a chance to win, he is jeopardizing GOP goals, like repealing health care reform.

DeMint scoffed at that.

"We've got to avoid this idea that we can get anyone who calls themselves a republican even if they don't vote with Republicans. That's not what Americans want. I don't think that's what our party leaders want," he said.

With DeMint's help, Conservative candidates in states like Kentucky and Colorado have defeated the Republicans the national party considered more electable against Democrats in the general election.

DeMint insisted those conservative candidate are faring better in the polls than people had anticipated.

"I think if you talk to [NRSC Chair] John Cornyn or [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell…and they now look at our candidates like Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and Ken Buck they're all ahead in the polls because America is really ready for a Republican who is very clear. That we need to cut this spending and borrowing," said DeMint.


Filed under: 2010 • Jim DeMint
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. chuck

    No, Americans in DE are not stupid...just 53% or so of the republicans that voted yesterday.

    September 15, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Native Delawarian

    I have a message for Mr. DeMint. I have lived in Delaware my entire life. I wouldn't vote for Christine O'Donnell if she were the only person running. She is a complete nutbag. She is accusing Mike Castle of running a negative campaign, however the stuff she said about him in the last two weeks was not only negative, it was personal and it was nasty.

    She hasn't had a job in years. She has defaulted on loans and mortgages. She doesn't pay her campaign staff and she is living and paying personal expenses with campaign donations. There are conservatives in Delaware, but Christine doesn't stand a snowballs chance in you know where of being elected here.

    September 15, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Common sense

    Jim DeMint waterlooing the Regan Republicans for a power grab. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. nick

    As time passes the GOP moves farther and farther to the right and soon the whole party will be consigned with the lunatic fringe along with other National Socialist goose steeping down the street.

    September 15, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. duke

    as a democrat i am glad o donnell won in delaware. god bless the morons in tea party. we now have better chance of winning general election since she is the repo canidate.

    September 15, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. lovable liberal

    DeMint, Joe McCarthy without the drinking problem...

    September 15, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Two words for the rethugs to remember to "thank" in November and for the rest of their lives . . . . . mccain/palin.
    He brought this viper into their mist and they are all now paying for it.

    September 15, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Squiggs

    I'm sure Demented knows a stupid voter when he sees one since thats all that votes for the likes of him. The Tea Party looks good in these Republican primaries because only republicans can vote and usually in primaries its the very extreme voters who get out and vote. I think the more tea partiers we have running the better for the Democrats and the country.

    If only 25% of Americans think that Palin is qualified to be President do you think that more than 25% of voters will think she's qualified to suggest who should be President or in any other office. A lot of the Tea partiers will go down in the general election unless they have electric shock treatment and get rid of some of their bizarre notions about goverment and life.

    September 15, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Al Ram

    Yes, Sen. DeMint,

    The people from Delaware and in the US as a whole are not stupid that is why we will vote for the Democrats!!!

    September 15, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. mdn

    I wonder whom Senator Demento wants to take his country back from? Could it the...black man??? No, that would mean that the Tea Baggers are a racist organisation,and there not. It's 99.9% caucasian membership is only coincidental.

    September 15, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Look Out Dims, Libtards and Obozo Fans

    The Tea Party will vote in mass November. You Dims should just stay home and let us take over. LOL.

    September 15, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Jaywing

    I am sick and tired of hearing far right-wing bigots like Palin and Beck, and now a sour GOP hound-dog like DeMint scream, "We're going to take our country back!" Take it back From Whom, You Fools"! We are all Americans, and the Majority of us Americans last election cycle voted for the government we have. No foreign power has taken us over. There is no socialist or communist plot to undermine America. You lost the election because your candidates did not speak for the Majority of Americans. This isn't a sandbox. Quit pouting and whining and lying. And, certainly, if your answer to fixing America's problems is to be the party of NO, as In Got 0 Plans (GOP) - just shut up and get the hell out of the way!

    September 15, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. JoshuaM

    Another lifer' has to go get a non tax payer funded job. If you don't think the mahority in Congress are bought and paid for check out the debt to fundraising ratio. After Obama set a record and ...

    September 15, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Moosehead

    "Americans who live in Delaware love their country and they're not stupid.".
    Exactly Mr. DeMint,.. that is way they'll vote Democrat. a

    September 15, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. American

    Senator DeMint should know that all Americans whether they be Democrat or Republican love their country.

    September 15, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Vet.

    In fighting in the republican party "Oh My" the same Demint who said if we stop the Health Insurance law it would be the President's Waterloo, kind of strange, Our President is still standing and the law passed, sounds like Demint have a good track record. With leadership like him, looks like they are going to self destruct without any assistant from the Democratic Party.

    September 15, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. lizwilm

    we don't mind she is conservative. I am conservative. I can that she has a record of corruption lies. She is mentally unstable and needs to be medicated.

    September 15, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Liz

    So the best thing to do would be to adopt the failed policies of the 8 years of Bush?
    Because you know that's all they had to offer. Keep in mind, this recession/depression took way longer than the past 18 months to effect our country.
    These have been Republican ideas, republican mentality that got our country to where it is at right now.
    And these same republicans are blocking any kind of fruitful solutions arising from the legislators in washington.
    OUT with the Tea party, I say.
    Thsi is NOT what our forefathers had in mind. They promulgated a SEPARATION: of church and state, it is what we fought the british over! No more new taxes and freedom from religious persecution.
    i submit that anyone who does not vote tea party is being subjected to religious persecution and an alienation of personal rights: the right to reproductive choice, the right to believe in whatever god we want to believe, for starters.
    You KNOW if enough tea pertiers get into office, they will demand we al believe in THEIR god, be you muslim, jewish, protestant or whatever – even agnostic or atheist.
    VOTERS BEWARE. CONSIDER THE BIGGER PICTURE.

    September 15, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Marty, FL

    Yes, Mr. Waterloo, Americans do love our country and will make sure his tea insanity stays out of our government. Can you imagine the nonsense of McConnell/Boehner and the tea extremes ruining things again?? No way.

    America has come too far to turn back to those disastrous policies. Keep moving forward, not backwards.

    Yes we can!

    September 15, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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