Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint
Jim DeMint
United States Senator
from South Carolina
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Serving with Lindsey Graham
Preceded by Ernest Hollings
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Bob Inglis
Succeeded by Bob Inglis
Personal details
Born September 2, 1951 (1951-09-02) (age 60)
Greenville, South Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Debbie DeMint
Residence Greenville, South Carolina
Alma mater University of Tennessee (B.A.)
Clemson University (M.B.A.)
Occupation Marketing consultant
Religion Presbyterian
Website Senator Jim DeMint

James Warren "Jim" DeMint (born September 2, 1951) is the junior U.S. Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party and a leader in the Tea Party movement. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 4th congressional district from 1999 to 2005.


Early life and education

DeMint was born in Greenville, South Carolina, one of four children. His parents, Betty W. (née Rawlings) and Thomas Eugene DeMint,[1] divorced when he was five years old.[2] Following the divorce, Betty DeMint operated a dance studio out of the family's home.[3][4]

DeMint was educated at Christ Church Episcopal School and Wade Hampton High School in Greenville.[when?] DeMint played drums for a cover band called Salt & Pepper.[5] He received a bachelor's degree[when?] from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from Clemson University.

Business career

DeMint worked in the field of market research. In 1983, he founded his own research firm, The DeMint Group. Based in Greenville, it had four employees. DeMint ran the company until 1998 when he entered Congress.[4]

U. S. Representative

U.S. Senate

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Tea Party Caucus

Political positions

  • DeMint is ranked by The National Journal as one of the most conservative members of the Senate.[7] Salon.com has called him "perhaps the most conservative member of the Senate."[8]
  • DeMint opposes spending increases of the federal government. He opposed federal bailouts for banks and automobile corporations.[9][10]
  • DeMint favors a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[11]
  • Senator DeMint has been a consistent supporter of organized and led school prayer and has introduced legislation that would allow schools to display banners such as one stating "God Bless America".[12]
  • DeMint opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. He approves of abortion only when the mother's life is in danger.[12][13]
  • DeMint favors requiring all illegal immigrants in the United States to either return to their home countries or apply for legal residency. He is in favor of establishing the English language as the country's official language.[12]
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.[citation needed]


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.[20][21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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 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.[24] 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.[25][26][27] 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.[28]

DeMint plans to retire in 2016 after serving his second term.[29]

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.[30] 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.[20][31]



  1. ^ Jim DeMint | TheMediaBriefing
  2. ^ JimDemint Tag - Politics Daily - Politics News, Elections Coverage, Political Analysis and Opinion
  3. ^ How Old Is Jim DeMint?
  4. ^ a b "12 in 2012: Senator Jim DeMint " The Special Report Blog". Fox News. November 9, 2010. http://specialreport.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/11/09/12-in-2010-senator-jim-demint/. 
  5. ^ Miller, John J. (February 22, 2010). "Senator Tea Party". Hey Miller. http://www.heymiller.com/?p=1141. [self-published source?]
  6. ^ "Senate Leaders Announce Bipartisan Committee To Investigate Judge G. Thomas Porteous" (Press release). Senate Democratic Caucus. 2010-03-17. http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=323186&. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  7. ^ "Jim DeMint SC-Senate (R)". 2008 Vote Ratings. National Journal. http://www.nationaljournal.com/2008voteratings?person=400105. 
  8. ^ Kornacki, Steve (2011-05-12) Why healthcare may not doom Mitt Romney after all, Salon.com
  9. ^ Franklin, Charles (March 5, 2007). "National Journal 2006 Liberal/Conservative Scores". Political Arithmetik. http://politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com/2007/03/national-journal-2006.html. [self-published source?]
  10. ^ "2007 Vote Ratings". National Journal. March 7, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110723033048/http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/sen/cons.htm. 
  11. ^ Kellman, Laurie, "DeMint steers the tea party bandwagon: Balanced-budget focus shapes debate," Associated Press, The Greenville News, 11 July 2011, p. 7B.
  12. ^ a b c "Jim DeMint on the Issues". Ontheissues.org. http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/jim_demint.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  13. ^ Senator Jim W. DeMint at Project Vote Smart. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
  14. ^ Jim DeMint on War & Peace
  15. ^ PEOPLE[dead link]
  16. ^ Lee, Carol E. (October 2, 2009). "Democrats target Jim DeMint's Honduras trip". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/27862.html. 
  17. ^ Carty, Daniel (December 30, 2009). "DeMint: Obama 'Has Downplayed Terrorism'". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-6037313-503544.html. 
  18. ^ U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
  19. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=2&vote=00105. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  20. ^ a b Kinnard, Meg. ["Gay, women’s groups want apology from DeMint"], Associated Press, The State, 7 October 2010.[dead link]
  21. ^ Radnofsky, Louise; Phillips, Michael M. (November 11, 2010). "The Big Read: As U.S. political split widened, a friendship fell into the rift". Wall Street Journal: p. 16. 
  22. ^ Hoover, Dan. "DeMint apologizes after remarks on gays"[dead link], Greenville News, 6 October 2004.
  23. ^ Demint, Jim. Remarks to Diane Rehm, The Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio, 31 January 2008.
  24. ^ Lach, Eric (June 9, 2010). "SC Dems Asks Alvin Greene To Withdraw From Senate Race". Talking Points Memo. http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/sc-dems-asks-alvin-greene-to-withdraw-from-senate-race.php. 
  25. ^ Senate Conservatives Fund — About
  26. ^ McConnell's Repeal Vote Rallies the Base - Chris Good - Politics - The Atlantic
  27. ^ DeMint to Iowa amid denials of presidential run - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room
  28. ^ Senate Conservatives Fund
  29. ^ "Sen. DeMint relishes role as kingmaker". The Hill. 2010-09-15. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/119115-sen-demint-relishes-role-as-kingmaker. 
  30. ^ Shackleford, Lynne P. "DeMint addresses conservative issues at Spartanburg church rally", 2 October 2010.
  31. ^ Terkel, Amanda. "Teachers Unions Pile on DeMint: 'Ignorance and Hate Go Hand In Hand'", Huffington Post, 7 October 2010.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Inglis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Bob Inglis
United States Senate
Preceded by
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings
United States Senator (Class 3) from South Carolina
Served alongside: Lindsey Graham
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Richard Burr
R-North Carolina
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Tom Coburn

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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