And everyone wants to bend Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) ear, knowing that his support may not only be critical in South Carolina but also across the nation of tea-party activists who see DeMint as one of their leaders.
DeMint easily won reelection this fall against obscure Democrat Alvin Greene — but that didn't stop Thune from pouring in $8,000, Palin from giving $7,500, Romney from donating $5,000, Pawlenty from dishing out $3,000 and Santorum from writing him a $1,000 check.
In an interview, DeMint made clear that he’s getting a lot of interest already.
“No one has specifically asked for my endorsement, but a lot of them are staying in touch,” DeMint said. “And I’m very interested in it, and I have a lot of good friends who might run. ... Just conversations, e-mails, number of folks who are interested in the issues, not just running for president. During this tax deal debate, earmark debate, I had a lot of support coming from Romney and others.”
DeMint backed Romney in the 2008 presidential primary – but said he’s got “an open mind” about 2012.
“He’s obviously near the top of my list, he’s a good quality candidate, and we’ve got others who are looking at it,” said DeMint, who also is getting encouragement from some conservative activists to run for president.
Palin, for one, has never talked to DeMint before, even though they hail from the same part of the ideological spectrum and are considered heroes of the tea party movement.
“We’ve never spoken, but she left me a nice message, and I believe she’s done more for the Republican Party than anyone since Ronald Reagan,” he said.
Politico Courting begins in 2012 early states