View Full Version : Senator DeMint bucks Republican party, backs conservative DeVore in California race

11-04-2009, 06:40 AM
Senator DeMint bucks Republican party, backs conservative in California race
By Reid Wilson - 11/04/09 06:00 AM ET

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) endorsed conservative California State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R) Tuesday, once again going against the wishes of his party.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has made no endorsement in the California Senate race, but party leaders favor former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina (R), a wealthy centrist whom many believe could give Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) a strong challenge.

Later this month, Fiorina will be the guest of honor at a Washington fundraiser featuring Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and three others, along with veterans of McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, for which Fiorina served as a key spokeswoman.

But DeMint is rarely persuaded by appeals to party loyalty. Earlier this year, he became one of several very conservative Republican senators to back former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) over Gov. Charlie Crist (R). Now he is backing DeVore.

“Chuck DeVore is a proven, tested conservative who is gaining momentum. He’s the kind of leader who we can count on to stand up for common-sense conservative principles in the United States Senate,” DeMint said on a conference call Tuesday evening. “If grassroots conservatives get behind him, he can win the primary in June and go on to defeat Barbara Boxer in November.”

DeMint’s political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, has also endorsed Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), with whom he shares a media consultant, and fellow arch-conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). DeMint also backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York before enough pressure mounted to force the more liberal GOP nominee out of the race.

One of the most conservative members in the upper chamber, DeMint is also one of those least willing to compromise on Republican ideals. He offered a tepid endorsement of McCain in 2008 after his candidate, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R), dropped out of the presidential sweepstakes, and he has said he would rather have 30 pure conservatives in the Senate than a majority of centrists.

“Jim DeMint just doesn’t bend much, and that’s why he’s going to have very little trouble getting reelected,” said Katon Dawson, the former South Carolina GOP chairman and a DeMint ally. “DeMint has been one of the U.S. senators who has stepped forward to carry the conservative banner.”

Still, others say DeMint is wrong to insist that candidates across the country fit his ideological mold. Referring to DeMint’s claim that he would like to see a conference of 30 pure conservatives, one GOP official shuddered: “If we were to adhere to his candidate selection, he would get his wish.”

But the notion of pragmatists versus conservatives within the GOP is one that has gained prominence of late. As in the special election in New York and the Senate contest in Florida, California could emerge as a state in which a clash takes place. Fiorina is not as liberal as the New York Republican, but she does not have the conservative bona fides DeVore does.

Fiorina is expected to make her candidacy official this week. DeVore, an Orange County Republican, has been in the race for a year.

A Field Poll, conducted between Sept. 18 and Oct. 6, shows Boxer leading Fiorina by 49 percent to 35, while the incumbent has a 50-33 percent lead over DeVore. A sub-sample of Republican primary voters showed Fiorina and DeVore statistically tied.


11-04-2009, 10:41 AM

11-06-2009, 07:38 AM
A California Republican aiming to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) next year has gotten a boost from conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

DeMint announced last night his Senate Conservatives Fund was endorsing state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore over former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina. The group supports only "rock solid" conservatives, organizers told supporters on a conference call last night as election results came in.

DeVore "will work with me to shake things up," DeMint said, and "vote the right way ...
stand up in our conference meetings and say, 'Folks this is wrong let's turn this thing around.'"

DeMint's fund already has endorsed Republican senate candidates Marco Rubio in Florida and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

He urged supporters to directly donate to the DeVore campaign.

"California is ready for a turn back to freedom," DeMint said. He said DeVore has a "record straight up the way mine is" and applauded the candidate for flying to Washington to meet him.

The news comes as Fiorina officially entered the race via an editorial in the Orange County Register where she asked "those who expect more from our government to join me in making a change for the better."

Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.com, also appeared on the call and noted that DeVore served in the Reagan White House. He criticized Fiorina for backing the stimulus and noted recent polling showing both of the candidates are within 10 points of Boxer.

DeMint targeted Boxer in her role as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and said she is "surprisingly vulnerable for a Democrat running in such a blue state."

He said Boxer would "add to the cost of living" with her climate bill and would "cost Americans a lot of jobs."

The Republican primary is June 8, 2010.

The group took a snap poll via telephone of the callers on the line and 78 percent said they would back DeVore while just 5 percent said they supported Fiorina. The rest were undecided.