Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)

U.S. Senator (since January 2005)

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Why He Matters

DeMint announced in early December 2012 that he was going to resign from the Senate to become the head of the Heritage Foundation.

An energetic, tenacious and persistently ambitious Southerner, DeMint emerged from a broken home to become one of the most solidly conservative senators in America. He is chairman of the Senate GOP Steering Committee, an informal group of Senate conservatives, and was named the Senate's most conservative senator by National Journal for his first two years in the upper chamber and is a consistent champion of a flat tax.

A lifelong businessman, DeMint's first foray into politics was his 1998 election to the House. Six years later, he joined the U.S. Senate.

DeMint’s Tea Party ties made him a possible candidate for vice president in 2012.

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Morning Bits

Must-read links to start the day

DeMint warns CPAC unchecked government will ruin ‘love of country’

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint’s influence among the base has grown as he has used the think tank platform to aggressively push conservative policy.

Cory Booker, Tim Scott team up for the first time

The two African American members of the U.S. Senate came to the chamber under similar circumstances but are on opposite ends of the political spectrum.


U.S. policy has gone liberals’ way for 70 years

(Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post)

The conservative goal of smaller government may not be achievable.


Congressional committee chairs have lost much of their prestige, allure

Although those who wield the gavel still wield power, chairmanships are not for those seeking political glory.


In the ‘credentials caucus,’ GOP’s 2016 hopefuls study policy and seek advisers

(Charlie Neibergall / AP)

Potential candidates huddle with former officials, pundits as they start shaping policy views ahead of 2016.

Who, me? In the tea party?

Why is the tea party losing Jim DeMInt?


At a Glance

  • Career History: U.S. House (1998 to 2004); President, DeMint Marketing (1983 to 1998); Vice President, Leslie Advertising (1981 to 1984)
  • Birthday: Sept. 2, 1951
  • Hometown: Greenville, S.C.
  • Alma Mater: University of Tennessee, B.S., 1973; Clemson Universtiy, M.B.A., 1981
  • Spouse: Debbie
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • DC Office: 340 Russell, 202-224-6121
  • State Office: Charleston, 843-727-4525; Columbia, 803-771-6112; Greenville, 864-233-5366

Path to Power

DeMint was one of four children born to Tom Eugene DeMint and Betty Batson in Greenville, S.C., while his father was stationed at Greenville Air Force base. After his parent's divorce, DeMint's mother opened a dance studio out of their home called The DeMint Academy of Dance and Decorum, giving him an early education in the principles of business.

In 1973, DeMint both graduated from the University of Tennessee and married his high school sweetheart, Debbie. The future Senator received his MBA in 1981 from Clemson and returned to Greenville, where DeMint went to work as a paper salesman.

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The Issues

When first elected to the House in 1998, DeMint's core issues were reducing the size of government, Social Security reform and paying down U.S. debt. He established himself so well in his House district that in 2000, he ran for reelection with no Democratic opponent.

While in the House, one of DeMint's major policy focuses was the creation of private Social Security accounts. He worked for the advancement of that cause by getting 117 fellow House Members to sign a letter of support. In 2003, he proposed legislation that would have allowed people under the age of 55 to invest 3 percent to 8 percent of their Social Security withholding in the stock market.

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The Network

During DeMint's campaign for the Senate, South Carolina's senior Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) supported him and recorded an ad in which he said, "Frankly, I could use the help."

Though the two have disagreed on some issues, including the bailout, they remain close allies.

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Additional Resources

  1. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/d000595/
  2. The New York Times, Peter E. Harrell, "SOUTH CAROLINA: Debate Poses Question of Who Has Momentum," Oct, 14, 2004
  3. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13802.html
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QINqIBU7W2c
  5. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=avQ.HKWcVXvE&refer=us
  6. http://www.politico.com/blogs/thecrypt/1108/DeMint_barks_Senate_GOP_bites_back.html?showall
  7. http://briefingroom.thehill.com/2008/09/25/demint-bailout-bill-is-pure-socialism/
  8. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9013.html
  9. http://thestatecom.typepad.com/ygatoday/2007/10/romney-names-de.html
  10. Belts, Emily and Pitts, Edward Lee, The World Magazine, "The C Street House," June 26, 2009.
  11. http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.Detail&Issue_id=95633845-4058-4bc9-b441-a3f638044696
  12. http://www.humanevents.com/blog-detail.php?id=15161
  13. DeMint, Jim, FoxNews.com, "The Conservative We're Looking For - Marco Rubio," June 16, 2009