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Jim DeMint endorses Rand Paul

Everything Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) does makes news these days, but this is actually a big deal. One day after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed Trey Grayson in Kentucky's GOP primary for U.S. Senate, DeMint has endorsed Rand Paul.

Only 48 hours ago, DeMint was on the record explaining why he hadn't endorsed Paul, one of the breakout stars of the 2010 cycle.

I want to avoid poking my finger in the leader's eye, but I'm not going to let it get unfair.

What did "get unfair" mean? I'm told that DeMint was extremely unhappy by the dog pile on Paul from national Republican leaders -- McConnell included -- which implied that Paul was an unpredictable libertarian whom social and national security conservatives could not trust. The mess surrounding James Dobson's endorsement of Paul -- Dobson said he'd been misled by GOP leaders about the real Paul record -- was only one example. It got, in other words, "unfair." And now DeMint is "poking his finger in the leader's eye" with Paul up in the polls 13 days before the election.

DeMint's statement is after the jump.

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Conservatives Fund, announced his endorsement of Dr. Rand Paul for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. DeMint joins Senator Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky), Governor Sarah Palin, Steve Forbes, and James Dobson in backing Dr. Paul in the May 18 Republican primary.

"I'm endorsing Rand Paul because he's a true conservative who will stand up to the Washington establishment," said Senator DeMint. "Rand has been running on the issues that matter since the beginning of this campaign. He's a strong advocate for balanced budgets, he wants to end the culture of earmarks, he supports term limits, and he's 100% pro-life. Rand is exactly the kind of leader Americans are looking for right now. He's not a career politician and he's got the guts to stand up to the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are being forced on us in Washington.

"Senator McConnell and I are on different sides in this race but I support him as our leader."

For over a year, Senator DeMint has been using the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) to support strong conservative candidates who will fight for balanced budgets, constitutional limits, and individual liberty. In addition to Dr. Rand Paul, SCF is working to help Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio in Florida, Chuck DeVore in California, and Ken Buck in Colorado.

"We're trying to lead our party back to the principles that made our country great," said Senator DeMint," and back to where the majority of Americans want us to be. Americans are looking for leaders who will honor their oath of office by fighting to 'protect and defend' the Constitution. They're looking for leaders like Rand Paul in Kentucky, and I'm proud to endorse him."

The Senate Conservatives Fund is a political action committee that seeks to elect strong conservative candidates to the U.S. Senate. SCF supports principled leaders who are often overlooked, and sometimes opposed, by the Washington establishment.

By David Weigel  |  May 5, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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