November 2nd, 2010
11:48 PM ET
12 years ago

DeMint equivocates on a Senate Tea Party caucus

(CNN) - A leading conservative in the Senate suggested Tuesday night that an official Tea Party caucus in the Congress' upper chamber may not be necessary.

When initially asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the possibility of such a caucus, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina replied "Well, I'm chairman of the conservative caucus already and I think one mistake we're making in this election is to suggest that it's all about the official Tea Party movement."

DeMint also told Blitzer that for every person who attends a rally there are often hundreds or even thousands who feel the same way and don't consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement.

DeMint added that the success of some Tea Party-backed in Tuesday's elections was only the beginning of a process that's not finalized yet.

"You still see some states struggling," DeMint told Blitzer. "You see the Republican Party struggling to select candidates that reflect a limited government philosophy. So this is the beginning of a process that I think you're going to see grow between now and 2012."

Asked again by Blitzer about a Tea Party caucus in the Senate, DeMint seemed to change his tune.

"If there is one, I'll join it," the South Carolina Republican said. "But I think what we'll probably do in the Senate is just expand the conservative caucus and reflect the Tea Party ideas."

DeMint's approach contradicts that of Sen.-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky who told Blitzer earlier Tuesday night that he wants a Tea Party caucus in the Senate. "That's one of the things I'll begin working on tomorrow morning," Paul told Blitzer.

During this midterm election cycle, DeMint made a habit of bucking the GOP establishment and backing long-shot conservative candidates many of whom also had the backing of the Tea Party movement. The support DeMint provided to these candidates through endorsements and contributions from his Senate Conservatives Fund PAC makes him a likely choice to lead any caucus – formal or informal – of newly-minted Tea Party senators in the next Congress.

Filed under: Jim DeMint • Senate • Tea Party movement
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Al

    The Republican powers that be are done with these tea party sheep....they will be ignored until 2012 when Fox will feed them political red meat again to wake them out of their stupor

    November 3, 2010 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. T'SAH from of Virginia

    Why does the RepubliCAN'T Party keep insisting on the TEA PARTY being someone other than THEM!!!

    DIVIDE (go far right) – so-call CONQUER (spread likes and hate) – then MEND (put it back together)!!! In other words LIE – CHEAT – then LIE AGAIN!!

    I am kind of glad that the RepubliCAN'Ts took over the HOUSE – now, let's see how they govern!!!! Very Interesting!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!

    Here is my take on WHAT HAPPENED!!!

    November 3, 2010 12:40 am at 12:40 am |