POLITICS

Jim DeMint Won't Rule Out Seeking Senate Leadership Position

07/14/2010 01:46 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint isn't denying the suggestion he may pursue a Republican leadership post in the U.S. Senate.

DeMint, a Tea Party favorite, discussed his political ambitions in an interview with the Greenville News in South Carolina on Tuesday:

Asked by The Greenville News about the likelihood of a run for Senate minority leader, DeMint said it's "not my plan," but that he's open to some kind of elected leadership once 10 to 15 new conservatives - many of them supported by DeMint - join the ranks as he expects.

DeMint-endorsed candidates running for U.S. Senate in the current election cycle include Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ken Buck in Colorado, and Marco Rubio in Florida. The South Carolina Senator has also used his conservative star power to boost the campaign of Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle, despite not formally endorsing her in the state's primary.

This isn't the first time that speculation has surfaced over the prospect he might mount a bid to replace sitting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Salon reported last month:

"DeMint denies that he is aiming to wrest the GOP's Senate leadership slot from McConnell, but his protestations are disbelieved by many.

"He says he is not going to challenge McConnell. Whatever!" one GOP strategist, who asked not to be named, says with a laugh.

As for McConnell, the Kentucky Republican seems to sense the threat. Politico recently reported:

With voters furious at leaders from both parties in Washington, McConnell is quietly working to retain his grips on power in the Senate, ensuring that the throw-the-bums-out rebellion sweeping the country does not knock him from his perch at the top of the GOP.

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