Is Jim DeMint Splitting the GOP?

DeMint, Murkowski spat shows larger GOP split

By JAMES ROSEN – McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — For all his success in helping elect ultraconservatives to the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint is still fighting to avoid what could be a huge failure.

Even as DeMint says he would welcome fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski back to the Senate, the South Carolinian is still urging conservative activists around the country to donate money to replace the incumbent with Tea Party favorite Joe Miller through a legal appeal.DeMint, who raised $5.6 million for ultraconservative GOP candidates this year, attached a personal appeal letter to a “CONTRIBUTE” banner and a photo of Miller at the top of, the Web site of his Senate Conservatives Fund.

“Joe Miller can win this race, but he’s up against a well-financed legal team that is working for Lisa Murkowski,” DeMint wrote. “They will be fighting to bend the law in Alaska, which requires write-in ballots to accurately state the candidate’s name.”Before a federal judge on Friday temporarily froze the final outcome, Murkowski appeared to have won a historic write-in campaign against Miller in the Nov. 2 general election in the home state of the face of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, overcoming DeMint’s contribution of more than $627,000 to Miller.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline suspended Murkowski’s certification as winner provided that Miller demand a recount in state court by today, a step Miller was prepared to take despite the long odds of overtaking Murkowski’s 2,000-or-so vote lead.Miller won Alaska’s Aug. 25 Senate Republican primary, prompting Murkowski to launch her write-in effort — and setting off a bitter, drawn-out exchange of actions and words with DeMint that may not end any time soon.Murkowski has responded coolly to DeMint’s recent peace signals.

“He has suggested that he’s got some making up to do,” Murkowski told CNN on Nov. 12. “I’ll let him make the first move.”Beyond its political intrigue, the DeMint-Murkowski tussle reveals the deeper ideological struggle within the Republican Party between hard-liners unwilling to bend their principles and moderates who say governing requires compromise.

DeMint’s badly damaged relationship with Murkowski also shows the tightrope he’s treading as he tries to remake the Senate in his ultraconservative image from inside the august chamber while backing anti-establishment rabble-rousers on the outside.While Miller still pursued a recount, Washington insiders regarded Murkowski’s victory as a done deal.

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How-To: South Carolina Absentee Voting

If you think you might be away from home, or are concerned about working on election day, lock in your vote against Jim DeMint now: vote absentee.SC Vote

Absentee voting in SC can done by mail, or in person.  Here’s how to do it:

In Person – Visit your county voter registration office , complete an application, and cast your ballot.  You may vote absentee in person up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election.

By Mail – This is a three step process:

1. Request an “Absentee Ballot Application” – email your county voter registration office with your registered name, address and date of birth.  Include the address you’d want the application sent to.  Find the county voter registration office here:

2. Absentee Ballot Application – Receive it from your county voter registration office in the mail and send it back. It must be received by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 29.

3. Absentee Ballot – Receive it and send it back with your vote. The county voter registration office must receive it by 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 2.

After you submit the ballot, check the status of your vote here:

Congratulations, you’re a South Carolina voter!  If you voted against Jim DeMint, you’ve struck a blow for freedom against political fundamentalism.

Politico: O’Donnell, Buck, Angle, DeMint Are Avoiding the Public

An article from Politico today criticize several of DeMint’s candidates for the un-political habit of hiding out from voters.  Six candidates prominently supported by DeMint’s Senate Conservatives PAC consistently duck the public and mass media.  All mentioned in the article:

* Christine O’Donnell, Deleware: “O’Donnell has been nearly impossible to track down in Delaware since winning her primary last month and actually had to deny Friday that she was in hiding.”

* Ken Buck, Colorado: “As of Friday, Colorado Republican Senate hopeful Ken Buck had gone nine consecutive days without holding a public event.”

* Sharron Angle, Nevada: ‘“Angle’s strategy seems to be: Let the [mainstream press] do what it wants — I have Fox, conservative radio, my ads and Karl Rove,” Ralston said, alluding to the former Bush adviser’s independent group, American Crossroads.’

* Ron Johnson, Wisconsin: “Ron Johnson… has ignored requests from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to share his daily schedule. ”

* Rand Paul, Kentucky: “Paul once asked local reporters to submit questions in writing and often hurries to his car to avoid them.”

Amount that DeMint claims to have raised for each of these candidates to date:

Christine O’Donnell, Deleware: $276,000 (goal is $350,000)
Ken Buck, Colorado: $533,000 (goal is $800,000)
Sharron Angle, Nevada: $532,000(goal is $700,000)
Ron Johnson, Wisconsin: $ 132,000 (goal is $150,000)
Rand Paul, Kentucky: $184,000 (goal is $400,000)

– source:

The article follows.

Year of the missing candidate
By: Jonathan Martin
October 5, 2010 04:34 AM EDT

With a month left until the midterm elections, there is something noticeably absent from some key statewide races: the candidates.

They’re ducking public events, refusing to publicize the ones they do hold and skipping debates and national TV interviews altogether – out of fear of a gotcha moment that will come back to haunt them.

It’s mostly, but not entirely, a Republican phenomenon. In some cases, a tea-party-oriented candidate has made a plain calculation that a one-day, process story about an absence from the campaign trail or a refusal to debate is less damaging than the captured-on-tape gaffe the candidate could make when facing reporters.

As of Friday, Colorado Republican Senate hopeful Ken Buck had gone nine consecutive days without holding a public event and acknowledged to The Denver Post that he’s more mindful now that he’s constantly being recorded by the ubiquitous ‘trackers’ being used by both sides. (With the fundraising quarter now done, however, he’s planning a more robust schedule for October.)

Tea party darlings Rand Paul of Kentucky and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware both surged to primary victories thanks, in part, to national media exposure, but after their own comments got them into trouble, they abruptly canceled post-primary Sunday show appearances and have largely avoided doing non-Fox national TV.

But what’s more remarkable is that they’ve also taken a low profile in their own states. Paul once asked local reporters to submit questions in writing and often hurries to his car to avoid them.

O’Donnell has been nearly impossible to track down in Delaware since winning her primary last month and actually had to deny Friday that she was in hiding.


Read the rest:

– hat tip to Mother Jones:

It has been DeMint’s strategy all along: to appear only in front of select audiences.  The ongoing controversy over DeMint’s condemnation of single women and gays in the classroom shows why.  DeMint did not intend these opinions for a broader audience.  When the majority of South Carolinians hear his honest opinions, they are dismayed.  So very little traditional campaigning really occurs.  DeMint cannot and does not want to represent the majority of South Carolinians.

These campaigns have more reality as fundraising appeals than anything else.  Directly targeted mailings call out the faithful to contribute ever more.  The funds are then spent by candidates who believe that any opposition to their political beliefs runs contrary to the laws of God.

DeMint attempts to redefine acceptable ideology in Utah primary

The political statistics and analysis site has an appraisal of the Utah race today and DeMint’s role in it.   This site usually crunches numbers.  In this case, however, they are trying to get their heads around the power-play that DeMint is embroiled in here.   Both DeMint’s candidate Mike Lee and his opponent Tim Bridgewater are leapfrogging themselves running as far to the right as possible.  Bridgewater is characterized this way:

This is interesting not only because Bennett’s RINO status seemed a little dubious to many Republicans, particularly outside Utah, but because Bridgewater is hardly a western version of pre-party-switch Arlen Specter. He favors repeal of the 16th Amendment authorizing the federal income tax, along with abolition of corporate taxes. He proposes a five-year phase-out of all funding for the federal Departments of Education and Energy, and also of all federal land management programs. Yes, he was endorsed by Bennett, but was also endorsed by defeated convention candidate Cherilyn Eagar, a social conservative activist who was herself endorsed by Eagle Forum’s movement conservative warhorse Phyllis Schlafly.

DeMint is positioning himself to the right of Phyllis Schlafly?  Maybe we can look for Anita Bryant to make an appearance soon.

DeMint may have found a candidate who’s wants to shut down the Department of Education twice as fast as his opponent, but he might not be socially conservative enough for Utah:

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint hit voters with an autodial supporting Mike Lee. A good thing for Lee, it would seem, although some who got the call were put off by getting wooed by political campaigns on a Sunday. That flies in South Carolina, but politicking on Sunday in Utah is frowned upon.

When Piedmont Presbyterians abandon the sabbath for politicking, perhaps earthly ambition is outstripping heavenly intentions.

Today’s Salt Lake Tribune comes down on the side of Bridgewater, and gives Lee’s Christian Reconstructionist ideology as the reason in this editorial:

Lee’s expertise is his encyclopedic knowledge of the Constitution. But his notions of the founding document are reactionary, so extreme, in fact, that we doubt they will ever find traction in mainstream American legal or political thinking. To do so would require reversing much of the jurisprudence of the 20th century.

To be fair, Bridgewater’s policies are almost as radical. This is, after all, a contest between hard-right ideologues. But we sense from our discussion with Bridgewater at least a modicum of openness to the spectrum of ideas, a glimmer of a pragmatism. We can’t say that of Lee.

So far as specific policy stands go, frankly, there’s not much difference.

Christian Reconstructionism is essentially a movement to bring current law in line with the Old Testament.  While this might not necessarily lead to the re-imposition of slavery, the stoning of adulterers, and the execution of homosexuals, the founder of the movement certainly felt that way.  Most of us would rather keep a million miles away from these opinions.  Given that DeMint has associated himself with the Reconstructionist in a contest where nothing else is in dispute, the voters will go the other way.  So what isn’t in dispute in this election? What do these candidates believe? In summary,

…both would repeal the income tax, and perhaps the 16th Amendment, replacing it with a flat tax or a national consumption tax. Abandoning a progressive income tax would reverse a century of U.S. policy at a time when income discrepancy in the nation is widening and the middle class is disappearing. Such a policy could shift the tax burden from the wealthy toward the middle class and even the poor.

Both would repeal the new health care reform law. Both would work to give the state a greater role in administering federal lands. Lee would assert limited state sovereignty over them; Bridgewater would exempt Utah from any more national park, monument or wilderness designations.

So the sole difference is that DeMint’s candidate would read the U.S. Constitution as biblical document.  Depressing result.

In Utah, DeMint becomes an issue | Washington Examiner

Jim DeMint has been actively involved in backing Tea Party candidates around the country.  In Utah he has controversially backed a primary challenger against incumbent Senator Bob Bennett.    Bennett lost the primary and now Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater are in a runoff.

Like recent South Carolina races, the Utah race has gotten dirty and Bennett is now suggesting that DeMint’s candidate is returning DeMint’s support with some kind of deal on shipping South Carolina’s nuclear waste to Utah.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., head of the Senate Conservatives Fund, has backed Mike Lee in the Utah GOP Senate primary that is being held tomorrow to replace Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah. You will recall that the incumbent Bennett was bounced when he failed to finish in the top two at the state convention.

But one of Bennett’s former staffers, a lobbyist named Tim Stewart, is still at the heart of a major controversy in the runoff — a false-flag operation that occurred on the eve of the convention. Delegates received a mailer purportedly supporting Lee but in fact designed to make Lee look bad. The mailer used the image of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake, and insinuated that Bennett was a bad Mormon, in contrast with Lee. Lee’s supporters believe that the mailer,  sent by a shady, unregistered group, might have cost him support at convention, where he finished with 44 percent to Bridgewater’s 57 percent.

Tomorrow’s primary is still on because no one got 60 percent at convention. But the dirty mailers continue, and the new one has DeMint hopping mad, because it makes him the issue.

DeMint is naturally defending himself in his latest fundraising appeal:

“This accusation is a disgraceful LIE from a desperate candidate.”

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

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