Jim DeMint won’t run for president in 2012, choosing instead to focus his growing political power on helping to elect more conservatives to the Senate next November, according to sources close to the South Carolina senator.

While DeMint has done little to suggest he is running, a scheduled trip this weekend to Iowa where he will address a conservative conference organized by Rep. Steve King had stoked speculation that the South Carolina Republican might be interested in running.

“He’s said all along that he isn’t running for President and his role in the primary is to encourage the candidates to embrace conservative principles,” said Matt Hoskins, spokesman for the Senate Conservatives Fund, DeMint’s political action committee.