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Jim DeMint

James Warren "Jim" DeMint (born September 2, 1951) is the junior United States Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party and a leading member in the Tea Party movement.[1][2] He previously served as the United States Representative for from 1999 to 2005.


Early life and education

DeMint was born in Greenville, South Carolina, one of four children. His parents, Betty W. (n e Rawlings) and Thomas Eugene DeMint,[3] divorced when he was five years old.[4] Following the divorce, Betty DeMint operated a dance studio out of the family's home.[5][6]

DeMint was educated at Christ Church Episcopal School and Wade Hampton High School in Greenville. DeMint played drums for a cover band called Salt & Pepper.[7] He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee, where he was a part of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, and received a MBA from Clemson University.

Business career

DeMint worked in the field of market research. In 1983 he founded The Demint Group, a research firm based in Greenville, and ran the company until 1998 when he entered Congress.[6]

U. S. Representative

U.S. Senate

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Jim DeMint speaking at rally for United States Senate candidate Rand Paul in October 2010

Political campaigns

1998 through 2002

In 1998, Fourth District Congressman Bob Inglis kept his promise to serve only three terms, by running against Senator Fritz Hollings. DeMint won the Republican primary for the district, which includes Greenville and Spartanburg. He then went on to win the general election in November. The district is considered the most Republican in the state, and he did not face a serious or well-funded Democratic opponent in 1998 or in his two re-election campaigns in 2000 and 2002.


DeMint declared his candidacy for the Senate on December 12, 2002, after Hollings announced that he would retire after the 2004 elections. DeMint was supposedly the White House's preferred candidate in the Republican primary.

In the Republican primary on June 8, 2004, DeMint placed a distant second, 18 percentage points behind former governor David Beasley. DeMint won the runoff handily, however.

DeMint then faced Democratic state education superintendent Inez Tenenbaum in the November general election. DeMint led Tenenbaum through much of the campaign and ultimately defeated her by 9.6 percentage points. DeMint's win meant that South Carolina was represented by two Republican Senators for the first time since Reconstruction, when Thomas J. Robertson and John J. Patterson served together as Senators.

DeMint stirred controversy during debates with Tenenbaum when he stated his belief that openly gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools. When questioned by reporters, DeMint also stated that single mothers who live with their boyfriends should similarly be excluded from being educators.[22][23] He later apologized for making the remarks, saying they were "distracting from the main issues of the debate." He also noted that these were opinions based on his personal values, not issues he would or could deal with as a member of Congress.[24] In a 2008 interview, he said that while government does not have the right to restrict homosexuality, it also should not encourage it through legalizing same-sex marriage, due to the "costly secondary consequences" to society from the prevalence of certain diseases among homosexuals.[25]

Jim DeMint (R) 53.7%
Inez Tenenbaum (D) 44.1%
Patrick Tyndall (Constitution) 0.8%
Rebekah Sutherland (Libertarian) 0.7%
Tee Ferguson (United Citizens Party) 0.4%
Efia Nwangaza (Green) 0.3%


DeMint won re-nomination in the Republican Party primary. Democratic Party opponent Alvin Greene won an upset primary victory over Vic Rawl, who was heavily favored. Due to various electoral discrepancies, Greene received scrutiny from Democratic Party officials, with some calling for Greene to withdraw or be replaced.[26] DeMint consistently led Greene by more than 30 points throughout the campaign and won reelection by a landslide.

Prior to the 2010 elections, DeMint founded the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), a political action committee that is "dedicated to electing strong conservatives to the United States Senate" and that is associated with the Tea Party movement.[27][28][29] As of February 2011, DeMint continued to serve as Chair of SCF, which states that it raised $9.1 million toward the 2010 U.S. Senate elections and which endorsed successful first-time Senate candidates Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Marco Rubio.[30]

DeMint plans to retire in 2016 after serving his second term.[31]

On October 1, 2010, DeMint, in comments that echoed what he had said in 2004, told a rally of his supporters that openly homosexual and unmarried sexually active people should not be teachers.[32] In response, the National Organization for Women, the National Education Association, the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, GOProud, a GOP group, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force asked for Demint s apology.[22][33]

In March 2010,, owned by The New York Times Company, named DeMint one of the top 20 conservatives to follow on Twitter.[34]



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