Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) “served notice Friday that he intends to play a major role in deciding who emerges from a sizeable pack of GOP Senate contenders in Texas,” The Hill reports.
In an email to supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), DeMint talked up two rumored candidates — both of whom are supported by the Tea Party grassroots movement. Also, his email notably talked down Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is seen by some political observers in the state as the Republican frontrunner should he decide to get in the race.
"Based on media reports following Senator Hutchison’s announcement, the Washington establishment appears to be lining up behind Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R)," DeMint wrote in the email. "However, the two candidates we hear about most from conservatives are Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R) and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R)."
DeMint continued: "As you may remember, SCF encouraged Texas Governor Rick Perry to appoint Michael Williams to Senator Hutchison’s seat when she was expected to resign in the middle of her term. Michael is an outstanding conservative leader and he will be at the very top of our list as we consider candidates for an endorsement in the 2012 election."
The email “read like a sigh of relief from DeMint, who had pledged to not endorse against Republican incumbents in 2012.”
It may “rankle some in the party establishment, who would rather DeMint stay out of contested GOP primaries.”