April 20th, 2010
09:57 AM ET
13 years ago

DeMint picks a horse in Indiana Senate primary

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.stutzman.stutzman.jpg caption ="Sen. Jim DeMint has endorsed State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (pictured) over Dan Coats in the Indiana Republican Senate primary."]Washington (CNN) - Jim DeMint is sticking his finger in the eye of the National Republican Senatorial Committee once again, this time by endorsing a little-known state legislator in the Indiana Republican Senate primary instead of Dan Coats, the former senator recruited for the seat by national party officials.

"I'm very excited about what's taking place in Indiana right now," DeMint said in a statement endorsing state Sen. Marlin Stutzman. "We've got a young conservative running for the Senate who could pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year. He's surging because he's an authentic conservative who doesn't apologize for his principles."

DeMint's national profile has risen since he broke with many of his Senate colleagues last year to endorse Marco Rubio for Senate in Florida, long before the former state House speaker emerged as the favorite to win the GOP nomination over Gov. Charlie Crist.

He has used his political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, to promote and raise money for other conservative Republicans in competitive primaries. DeMint has so far endorsed four Senate hopefuls along with Stutzman: Rubio in Florida, Ken Buck in Colorado, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Chuck DeVore in California.

DeMint's endorsement of Stutzman, who also runs Stutzman Farms Trucking when he's not in the state house, is the latest signal that some grassroots conservatives are looking for an alternative to Coats, who has struggled to raise money since coming out of retirement to replace outgoing Sen. Evan Bayh. Stutzman has the backing of the conservative website RedState and the support of David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

While support from DeMint isn't likely to fundamentally alter the dynamics of the race - he is, after all, from South Carolina, not Indiana - DeMint could boost Stutzman's reputation nationally and help him raise some much-needed cash for the May 18 primary. Stutzman, still unknown to many Indiana voters, reportedly has just $70,000 in the bank.

DeMint's endorsement comes a day after James Dobson, the former head of Focus on the Family, endorsed Coats and cut a radio ad for his campaign.

A spokesman for Coats, Pete Seat, said his candidate continues to gain traction among Republican primary voters. "Dan Coats' emphasis on limited government, lower taxes, less spending, a strong national defense, and protecting personal liberty is resonating with Hoosiers across Indiana from all walks of life," Seat said in a statement.

Filed under: 2010 • Indiana • Jim DeMint • Marlin Stutzman
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Tim from Tampa

    DeMint is a very well paid shill for the health insurance industry.

    April 20, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Former Democrat

    Thank you Sen. Demint for bring Stutzman to my attention. After reading his stance on the issues, I too will support his campaign.

    Demint-Bachmann 2012

    April 20, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I LOVE watching the GOP implode!

    April 20, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Michael

    LOL "an authentic conservative who doesn't apologize for his principles": read "lunatic-fringe reactionary who will help us bring back the good old days of rampant deregulation and institutionalized abuse of the common citizenry."
    The Wall Street Elite would like nothing better than to reduce the general US population to a state of indentured servitude – look how they got away with robbing us blind and now they are banking billions like nothing ever happened while the rest of us lose our homes and go without medical attention.

    April 20, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Valerie in Raleigh

    If Jim DeMint endorses and supports this man, he is the last candidate I would ever consider.

    April 20, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Chris Dickson

    How ironic that Stutsman has shown nothing but contempt for "career, out-of-state politicians" yet touts the endorsement of a "career, out-of-state politician." (U.S. Congressman 1999-2005, U.S. Senator 2005-2010.)

    Let's see if he [Stutsman] is truly a man of his convictions and tells Senator DeMint, "No thank you,Senator. I don't need your endorsement, because you stand for everything I have built my campaign around: loathing people like you."

    I'm sticking with Dr. Dobson on this one!

    April 20, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. A disgusted former Republican

    Isn't it fun watching the republicans participating in a circular firing squad?

    April 20, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Luke Brown

    I live in South Carolina and wish DeMint would take as much interest in our state as he does in Indiana and Florida.

    April 20, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Ken in NC

    People are always speaking of how GOD is the only perfect being and in my younger days I often wondered to myself, how could HE be so perfect with some of the many idiots we have walking the earth today.

    It came to me today. These idiots were all test models. HE has now produced the final model, the Perfect Idiot has been put into full production in different forms. They are mostly listed as the BECK Model, the LIMBAUGH Model, the HANNITY Model, the MALKIM Model, the BACHMANN Model, the PALIN Model and the DeMINT Model.

    Note that the BACHMANN Model is subject to recall as GOD has yet figured out what kind of Idiot she is so HE is subject to make some design changes on that model.

    April 20, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. lovable liberal

    Dan Coats is not extreme enough for Jim DeMint! Incredible...

    Pretty clear that I don't have to consider voting for any Republican ever again.

    April 20, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Josh

    Demint, I will make sure that I send as much money as I can to support the Democrats that run against any of your endorsements.

    April 20, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Dano

    Every day it sounds more and more like the GOP is experiencing a civil war pitting the far right extremists against the (relatively) more moderate Republicans fighting for control of the party's future. Either way I see a third party coming out of this battle and the Democrats taking advantage of it in November's elections.

    April 20, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Rob Johnson

    Any party that puts someone like Jim DeMint in the position of kingmaker deserves exactly what it gets.

    By all means, defeat every reasonable, moderate Republican in the primaries and send up Tea Party right-wing nutjobs to run against the Democrats in November. You're basically doing our work for us.

    April 20, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Minnesotan

    It's so nice to see the 'thugs backstabbing each other instead of the middle class Americans.

    April 20, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. greg morris in jacksonville florida

    Campaign Finance Reform Now... no more national "funding" of state elections. Buying elections needs to stop NOW.

    April 20, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Thomas

    The kiss of death !

    How dose a guy like DeMint hold office anyway ?
    I had a teacher like him in 7th grade , he set the whole class back a year.

    April 20, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Jin

    The last part of the horse over the fence knows another of his breed when he sees him.

    April 20, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |