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Why Sen. Jim DeMint hasn't endorsed in Utah or Kentucky

As Marc A. Thiessen explains:

He [DeMint] has officially stayed out of Utah, where his Senate colleague Bob Bennett may lose his place on the GOP primary ballot at next weekend's state convention. And he has thus far stayed out of Kentucky, where Republican leader Mitch McConnell's hand-picked candidate, Trey Grayson, is being challenged by Rand Paul. Asked why, DeMint says, "I'd like to maintain a working relationship with my colleagues here." Besides, he adds, "I'm not needed" -- the insurgents are leading without him. He says he is watching the Kentucky race, however. "I want to avoid poking my finger in the leader's eye, but I'm not going to let it get unfair."

My emphasis. Obviously, had DeMint (R-S.C.) endorsed Paul or Utah front-runner Mike Lee, he'd look like a genius today -- both are now the favorites in their races, while some candidates he has endorsed, such as California's Chuck DeVore and Indiana's Marlin Stutzman, gasp for air. But that "poking my finger" line sounds informed by experience. Remember, DeMint endorsed Pat Toomey over Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) when the senior senator from Pennsylvania was still a Republican. There was ugly speculation over whether DeMint, in being uncollegial, set Specter off. Never again!

By David Weigel  |  May 3, 2010; 4:58 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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