Monday, May 17, 2010

Jim DeMint leads rightward shift of GOP candidates nationwide

When voters go to the polls Tuesday for U.S. Senate primary elections in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, they'll write a new act in the ongoing shake-up of the Republican political establishment that's being led by conservative freshman Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

In Kentucky, GOP voters will choose between Trey Grayson — the handpicked choice of the state's most powerful Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — and DeMint-backed Rand Paul, son of former Libertarian Party presidential candidate — and current Texas congressman — Ron Paul.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats will select Rep. Joe Sestak or incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, who bolted the Republican Party last year after DeMint became the first Republican senator to endorse Specter's opponent, former Rep. Pat Toomey, in the GOP primary.

DeMint's impact — through endorsements and money from his Senate Conservatives Fund — has also been felt in recent weeks in Florida, Indiana and Utah, and it will reverberate throughout the summer in California, Colorado and beyond.