DeMint: Considering presidential bid?
June 1st, 2011
10:40 AM ET
7 years ago

DeMint: Considering presidential bid?

Washington (CNN) - He's said no over and over again, but now Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is saying maybe to a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination. But an aide to DeMint seems to be downplaying such a move by the senator.

DeMint, who helped launch the Tea Party caucus in the Senate and who's very influential with many tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives, says many of his supporters have been urging him to run for the White House, and that he's letting them have their say.

"It's humbling and out of respect, my wife and I have talked about it," DeMint told The Hill newspaper. "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."

But a source close to DeMint tells CNN that "the Senator said he would pray about it because it will literally take an act of God to get him into the race. He has been extremely effective in the Senate in terms of advancing conservative principles and helping elect conservative leaders, and that is where his passion is."

In interviews this year, DeMint has been saying he has no interest in a bid for the White House. In January, he gave CNN's Wolf Blitzer a flat "no" when asked if he plans to seek his party's presidential nomination.

But around the same time several of his closest advisers and political confidantes told CNN that DeMint was at least open to a presidential bid if a suitably conservative candidate fails to emerge from the early and wide-open GOP field.

"I think that you can read into it that he sees he has a role in the process and he sees he hasn't completely shut the door," said one DeMint adviser said to CNN at the time.

DeMint spoke at a conservative forum in March in Iowa, the state which holds the first contest in the presidential caucus and primary calendar. And later this month he will address the audience at the Republican Leadership Conference. The gathering in New Orleans is shaping up to be a major cattle call of candidates and potential candidates in the race for the GOP nomination.

DeMint's backing of little known conservative candidates through his Senate Conservatives Fund in the recent midterm election cycle, such as now Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, often put him at odds with establishment Republicans. Thanks to his efforts and support of some tea party movement candidates, DeMint developed a national following among conservative activists, a network he would be able to tap if he ran for his party's nomination.

Another leg-up for DeMint: he hails from a state that hosts the first southern primary in the race for the White House. But having a favorite son in the race could also have the negative effect of minimizing South Carolina's role in the process by forcing other candidates to skip the state's primary completely.

DeMint becomes the second big name Republican to go from "no" to "I'm thinking about it," joining Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is also a darling of many in the tea party movement.

- CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

- On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Jim DeMint
soundoff (29 Responses)

    Just what the GOP needs, one more waco entering the race. What a joke this guy is, then again he fits in with the rest GOP jokes. So why does the GOP attract all the crazy people?

    June 1, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. TEE

    Just another rodeo clown !

    June 1, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. king

    hey repugs have been trying to send fear in the economy recovery for the past two years, it wasnt working then but since the repugs took over the house and nothing can get done without their aproval. i am very fareful about them not raising the debt ceiling and causing us to spirral into to darkness again, even worst than what happend two years years. hell we lost nearly 800 stock points two years ago when congress didnt approve tarp, the first time.

    June 1, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. SuperD

    Jim Demint is a good man and would make a good President, we can't get any worse than what we currently have.

    June 1, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. A disgusted former Republican

    DeMinted should run! There aren't enough republican idiots in the race yet.

    June 1, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. gt

    he needs to get in line with newt, palin , santorum, and rudy .... its not going to happen ... american wants a fresh face ... a independent thinker...not a right wing fringe...

    June 1, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Name jeremy@Dallas

    I love you Demint.... Please run. As a new Obama supporter, I will vote for you in the primary. Please run....

    June 1, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. PalmReader

    Just when you think the GOP can't get any lower, up pops another KockRoach, wanting it's 15 minutes, too. Keep digging, GOPers, and when you'all reach China, try grabbing some jobs on your way back, k ?

    June 1, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Bill

    "Jim Demint is a good man and would make a good President, we can't get any worse than what we currently have"

    Sure we could......if we ever elected any of these GOP announced candidates or the ones pretending to be candidates just to keep their names in the news. This is the same group of people that gave us two terms of GW Bush and we're living with the results of that now and will be for a long time.

    June 1, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    The GOP field doesn't look weak until you size them up against their Democratic opponent.

    June 1, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Bill

    Great. The GOP needs more buffoons in the lineup!

    June 1, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Sam

    DeMint might actually have a little more traction among the ultra right wingers and racists that make up the tea party faction than candidates like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann but at the end of the day he's still another nut case just like they are. He might as well run since all the lunatics have taken over the asylum anyway and there's not a viable candidated in the GOP-not one-who stands a chance of beating Barack Obama in 2012.

    June 1, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. GOP-Tea Party Radical Social Engineering to Kill Grandma Medicare

    Demint might as well get in the race and take President Obama out himself; because these current crop of GOP candidates stink to high heavens!

    But wait! Demint also stink like the bottom of the barrel the GOP field is just getting more desperate with no viable candidate. These GOP-Tea Party dufus can bash President Obama all they want...but they can't prop up a candidate that passes the smell test?!!

    June 1, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Scott in Atlanta

    This just keeps getting

    June 1, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Wasn't Demint the guy who blamed abortion for something stupid. ( the high cost of health care? ) If he was, his campaign will not get very far.
    Is it my imagination, or are Republicans moving further and further out of radio range with average Americans? Nope, it is a fact. Republicans seem to think that their ideology should be imposed upon everyone. People, their noble ideology is a complete sham. A wolf in sheep's clothing. Their so called Christian values (helping the sick and the poor as Jesus did) run counter to their political goals.

    June 1, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. 100% ETH

    Never heard of it. Nowadays, it is easier to apply for Presidential position than becoming waitress. What a laughing stocks.

    June 1, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. Tony in Maine

    It just gets worse.

    My greatest fear is that the Republicans will simply dry up and blow away with only the Tea Party left to represent the right. The danger to the Democratic Party is that, unopposed by any possibility of defeat, it would become as arrogant as the Republicans are each time they get a slim majority.

    June 1, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Name Creole

    OH PLEASE!!!!! Who's Next BIG BIRD...this is so sad

    June 1, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    My mother told me not to trust people who talk and smile at the same time.
    Be especially wary of someone who is trying to persuade your opinions or sell you something.

    June 1, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. once upon a horse

    @ SuperD.......
    couldn't get any WORSE huh? I guess you weren't around during the Bush years then. Besides let DeMint run so President Obama can make the race DeMint's WATERLOO. The GOP just keeps getting better and better.

    June 1, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    What is a " suitably conservative candidate" to Jim DeMint? That's something that needs to be asked, and no one, Rebublican or Democrat or Independent, should stop asking him that question until he really answers it. I want to know the core values of these people, what they plan to do, what their vision of America is. I'm tired of hearing platitudes to freedom and liberty coming out of their mouths, and then see their actions prove the opposite. I want to know what they believe, why they believe it, and how they plan to appeal to the remaining 2 thirds of the country that is at best ambivilent or opposes them. Show us specifics about what you believe, not what you are against, or don't bother getting into this race.

    June 1, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Oh brother

    Sure, maybe DeMint can announce in "Waterloo" along with the other "Dancing Queen" LOL
    What a three 'ring' circus (literally).

    June 1, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think he is one of these people that believe the free market can fix anything which it can't. If it were up to the free market, there would be little science research, and we'd still have leaded fuels that pollute among other things.

    June 1, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Bob in SC

    A big price to pay just to get him out of SC!

    June 1, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Double B

    This GOP Presidential derby just keeps getting more and more bizarre...a party in search of a sacrificial lamb who won't make them a laughing stock. So far, the only candidates to qualify would be Pawlenty and Romney, neither electable (pitiful numbers at this point) and both about as exciting as a bag full of rocks. Now enters the Jr. lunatic Senator from S. far, this is a horse race with all 40-1 longshots. Who's next...Michelle Bachman? wait, she already....good grief

    June 1, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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