DeMint Could Be A Force Backing Candidates In 2014 Election

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) might be leaving the upper chamber, but the conservative favorite is likely to remain a force to be reckoned with in the 2014 cycle.

DeMint has not publicly discussed how active he plans to remain in Senate primaries, one of his major focuses during his last few years in Congress. 

If he decides to focus more on policy and not get involved in the actual contests, that could leave a void on the right and let the National Republican Senatorial Committee become more involved in recruiting and aiding primary candidates. 

DeMint also pressured the NRSC and its outgoing chairman, Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), not to endorse any candidates in 2012. While the organization was involved in some candidate recruitment, it did not get publicly involved in any primaries.

The NRSC faces a tricky situation. The ever-expanding influence of outside groups and rowdy grass roots quick to react against any perceived meddling has both weakened their ability to influence primaries and heightened the risk that any efforts for a candidate will backfire.

“There are some very big opportunities in 2014. The question is whether or not the NRSC delivers in the primaries, whether or not they step in,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, who has been involved in a number of Senate races (and contributes to The Hill’s Pundits Blog). “You saw the grief that Cornyn got in 2010 — there was always grumbling if they entered too much, or not enough. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Right now we have six relatively toss-up races and they have to clean the slate if they want to be back in power or come close to it.”

Read more from Cameron Joseph at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy