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.
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.
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.