WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim DeMint has shown a knack over the past year in backing insurgent Republican Senate candidates and helping them defeat better-known foes in primaries around the country with money from his Senate Conservatives Fund.
Here's the breakdown of the South Carolina Republican's 6-2 record in his formal endorsements:
WASHINGTON: Dino Rossi, a real estate investor who narrowly lost gubernatorial bids in 2004 and 2008, is the only Republican to advance to the general election in Tuesday's "top two" primary pitting Senate candidates from all parties. He'll face incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who also advanced this week, in November.
COLORADO: Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck defeated former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the Aug. 10 Republican primary. Buck's general election opponent is incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, the Democrat appointed to succeed Ken Salazar last year when he became interior secretary.
UTAH: Mike Lee, a Salt Lake City lawyer and first-time office seeker, defeated incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett at the state GOP's convention in May, and then bested business owner Tim Bridgewater in the June 22 Republican primary runoff. Lee will face Democrat Sam Granato, also a political newcomer, in November.
CALIFORNIA: Assemblyman Chuck DeVore lost badly to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in the June 8 Republican primary. Fiorina will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in November.
KENTUCKY: Rand Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, defeated Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the May 18 GOP primary. DeMint had endorsed Paul, the son of former presidential candidate and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky backed Grayson. Paul's general election foe is state Attorney General Jack Conway in a race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning.
PENNSYLVANIA: DeMint's early support of former GOP Rep. Pat Toomey helped compel incumbent Republican Sen. Arlen Specter to switch parties and seek re-election as a Democrat. Toomey defeated conservative activist Peg Luksik in the May 18 GOP primary and will face Rep. Joe Sestak, who ousted Specter in the Democratic primary, in November.
INDIANA: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman lost to former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats in the May 3 Republican primary. Coats will face Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth in the general election campaign to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.
FLORIDA: Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio's big polling lead forced Gov. Charlie Crist to announce on April 29 that he'll run as an independent. Rubio will likely win the Aug. 24 Republican primary, but Crist has surged in polls for the November election that also will include a Democrat, either Rep. Kendrick Meek or billionaire Jeff Greene.
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