Jim DeMint: Christine O'Donnell is the "Common Sense" Vote in Delaware

Jim DeMint
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speaks to the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, in Washington.
AP

WASHINGTON -- Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell may seem like a long shotin a blue-leaning state like Delaware, but conservative Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina told the Hotsheet that even moderate voters will appreciate the "common sense" O'Donnell stands for.

In fact, DeMint said, most of the Tea Party-backed candidates that emerged from the Republican primaries this summer support more "mainstream" economic policies than Democrats in Washington.

"The people of Delaware love their country, and they don't want it to be bankrupt," DeMint said. "They've got a real clear choice now between a candidate who's going to vote for the continuation of spending and debt, supporting Pelosi and Obama, or a candidate who will support a balanced budget, repeal of earmarks, support term limits, and just some fiscal sanity."

He continued, "I think you're going to see people in Delaware, a third of whom are independent, supporting some common sense."

DeMint has positioned himself as a conservative leader in the Senate who is not afraid to let his ideology trump party loyalty. He bucked the Republican Party in a handful of primary races, endorsing candidates like O'Donnell and Rand Paul in Kentucky over the establishment picks. Democrats -- and in some cases like Delaware, even Republicans -- have cast the Tea Party candidates as too extreme and unelectable.

However, DeMint said today that conservatives like Paul and Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio "are right in the mainstream of where America wants us to be."

"What's extreme today is $15 trillion in debt and a president and a majority who continues to introduce new spending programs every week," he continued (the national debt this summer surpassed $13 trillion). "I think you're going to see the candidates supported by the Tea Party -- as well as millions of other Americans who don't consider themselves part of the Tea Party -- are going to overwhelm [on] Election Day."

And if his predictions for a conservative wave this November fall flat? "I'll continue to be in the beltway dog house for another six years," DeMint said.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010



Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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