By Alexander Bolton -The Hill
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he is considering running for president after frustrated conservative activists have pleaded with him to run.
DeMint told The Hill that he has discussed a White House bid with his wife and will pray on the question out of respect for his supporters across the country.
The Tea Party favorite, who had indicated he was not going to run in 2012, would significantly shake up the race if he were to jump in.
Many on the right have expressed major reservations about the GOP candidates in the race, claiming they have not energized the base and/or canâ€™t beat President Obama.
The second-term senator would have the inside track to win South Carolina, a key early state in the nomination process. Since 1980, every Republican who has triumphed in the Palmetto State has gone on to capture the GOP presidential nomination.
Some conservative activists compare DeMint to former Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) and former President Reagan, predicting he could quickly unify social and fiscal conservatives.
DeMint insists he has no plans to run. But he wonâ€™t dismiss the growing calls for him to enter the contest.
â€œItâ€™s humbling and out of respect, my wife and I have talked about it,â€ DeMint said late last week of a possible White House bid. â€œOut of respect for the people who have asked us to think about this, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re going to do. I donâ€™t want to imply that Iâ€™m changing in mind, but I want to consider what all these folks are doing.â€
Without a doubt, DeMint would face significant hurdles if he launched an eleventh-hour bid. Throughout his political career, DeMint has not been shy in confronting major players in the Republican Party on a wide range of issues. His candidacy would not be popular in Washington, though that dynamic could also be used as an asset on the campaign trail.
There are also questions as to whether he could attract independent voters in a general-election match-up against Obama.
Two GOP factions have begun to draft DeMint for a presidential run.
One is organized by Richard Viguerie, a conservative pioneer in the field of direct-mail political marketing, who helped Reagan win election in 1980.
The other is Conservatives4DeMint, which claims to have about 4,700 members and regional coordinators in 35 states.
Viguerie held a Saturday conference call with allies to plan the initial stages of the draft movement.
â€œIâ€™ve asked him about the presidential thing twice in the last five or six weeks,â€ Viguerie said of his recent conversations with DeMint.
â€œI think heâ€™s giving it serious consideration. Hopefully this will push him over the line and give him the encouragement that there would be a strong base of support,â€ Viguerie added.
He said DeMint compares to Goldwater in 1964, whom conservatives drafted to challenge President Johnson, and Reagan in 1976 and 1980 respectively.
To read more, visit:Â http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/164095-sen-demint-mulls-2012-bid-for-the-white-house
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