South Carolina's DeMint announces re-election bid

McClatchy NewspapersOctober 12, 2009 

WASHINGTON -- South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, flush with almost $3 million in his campaign coffers, announced Monday that he'll seek a second term.

DeMint's opposition to immigration reforms, strident criticism of government spending and attacks on President Barack Obama have transformed him from a little-known congressman into a national conservative leader.

DeMint announced his re-election bid in an email to supporters and a five-minute video on his campaign Web site.

In his video, DeMint ticks off the battles that have made him a rising figure among Republican activists across the country.

"I led the fight to stop illegal immigration and wasteful, pork-barrel earmarks," DeMint said in the video. "I fought against the moratorium on (oil and gas) exploration and led the fight against government takeover of health care."

DeMint blocked a massive government spending bill in December 2006, forcing appropriators to remove almost $1 billion in earmarks.

When President George W. Bush, Sen. Lindsey Graham, John McCain and other senators from both parties advanced major immigration legislation in May 2007, DeMint labeled the bid "amnesty" and stoked national opposition that led to its defeat.

After six years in the House of Representatives, DeMint was elected to the Senate in 2004, defeating Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, a former South Carolina public schools superintendent who's now the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

DeMint said he ended the third quarter with $2.8 million in the bank, giving him a large war chest that will make it difficult for anyone to challenge him.

DeMint cast his re-election campaign in broad bipartisan strokes, noting that he has targeted Democrats and Republicans in trying to slow the government growth.

"It's been a tough fight," he says in the video. "Politicians in both parties continue to support more spending, more debt, higher taxes and more government takeovers."

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