For his first eight years in Washington, Jim DeMint was like most members of Congress – relatively quiet, fairly innocuous and pretty much unknown outside his state.


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Over his final six years in the Senate, DeMint rocked national politics like an earthquake, gaining fame and notoriety that few lawmakers can claim.

Reveling in his nickname as “Sen. Tea Party,” the Greenville Republican rode that populist uprising, fueling it with his uncompromising, in-your-face opposition to nearly all manner of federal spending.

DeMint, who earlier this month said he will leave the Senate in January to head a conservative think tank, helped make “earmarks” a household word. He spearheaded the drive to impose the current bipartisan moratorium on that funding, steered by members of Congress. He also helped to elevate the rapidly rising federal debt from a troublesome issue to a national crisis.

Perhaps most lastingly for his legacy, DeMint became the Senate’s biggest fundraiser, raising millions to bankroll ultraconservative Senate candidates.


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Read More at mcclatchydc.com . By James Rosen.


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