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Jim DeMint

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Jim DeMint

James W. "Jim" DeMint (born September 2 1951) is a U.S. Senator from South Carolina since 2005. He had previously represented the state's 4th Congressional District from 1999 to 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party.

DeMint was born in Greenville, South Carolina and educated at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, the University of Tennessee and Clemson University. He owned a market research firm in Greenville.

When Fourth District Congressman Bob Inglis decided to honor a promise to serve only three congressional terms and run against Senator Fritz Hollings, DeMint won the Republican primary for the district, which includes Greenville and Spartanburg, and easily won election in November. The district is considered the most Republican in the state, and he never faced serious or well-funded opposition.

DeMint declared his candidacy for the Senate on December 12, 2002 after Hollings decided to retire after the 2004 elections. He was supposedly the White House's preferred candidate in the Republican primary. He placed a distant second in that primary on June 8, 2004, 18 points behind former governor David Beasley. However, he won a convincing victory in the runoff, and faced Democratic state education superintendent Inez Tenenbaum in November.

DeMint's candidacy drew public attention because of the positions he took. DeMint favored eliminating the IRS and Federal income tax. Additionally, he had sponsored legislation in the House of Representatives that would replace the current system with a 23% national sales tax on all goods and services. He claimed he had signed onto the legislation "to advance the debate" on tax reform, and that he did not specifically favor that version of reform over others. DeMint also stirred controversy during debates with Tenenbaum when he stated his belief that openly gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools. When questioned by reporters, DeMint also stated that single mothers who live with their boyfriends should similarly be excluded from being educators. He later apologized for making the remarks, saying they were "distracting from the main issues of the debate." He also noted that these were opinions based on his personal values; not issues he would or could deal with as a member of Congress. He also favored banning all forms of abortion.

Tenenbaum led in many polls for much of the year, but DeMint rode George W. Bush's long coattails in the state to a 9.6 percentage point victory in November.

DeMint is a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Special Committee on Aging, and the Joint Economic Committee.

See also

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Preceded by:
Bob Inglis
U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 4th Congressional District
1999-2005
Succeeded by:
Bob Inglis
Preceded by:
Fritz Hollings
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
2005-
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

Template:End box Template:SC-FedRep Template:Current U.S Senators

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