Jim DeMint uses win to tout ‘earthquake election’
By Liv Osby, staff writer, Greenville News
Published November 3, 2010, 2:16 AM
U.S. Senator Jim DeMint has won a second term, handily defeating Democrat Alvin Greene and Green Party candidate Tom Clements. The Associated Press called the race shortly after the polls closed at 7 p.m.
“They’ve already called several races. They called mine before the numbers came in,” DeMint said to cheering supporters who waved tiny American flags at the Westin Poinsett Hotel in his hometown of Greenville less than an hour after the polls closed.
With 89 percent of the precincts reporting, Republican DeMint had 63 percent of the votes.Greene, an unknown unemployed veteran who shocked the state by winning the Democratic Primary and was later indicted by a Richland County grand jury on obscenity charges, took 27 percent of the vote. He could not be reached for comment.
Clements, Southeast coordinator for Friends of the Earth and a public interest watchdog at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, garnered 9 percent of the votes. He attributed his low numbers to the straight-party ticket voting system.
“I think a lot of Democrats voted straight party ticket without analyzing the ticket,” he said. “I heard from a lot of people that they voted for me.”Clements said DeMint’s early victory speech reflected “his arrogant attitude.”“One of the main concerns I’ve heard is that he took the voters for granted,” he said. “I think people will regret returning him to the Senate because he’s not representing South Carolina based on my experience campaigning across the state.”
DeMint, who served three terms as 4th District Representative before being elected to the Senate in 2004, ran on a conservative agenda that included cutting the federal deficit, smaller government and repealing the new health reform law.He predicted that his win would be part of a wave of Republican victories across the country.“
I don’t know that we’re going to win them all,” he said. “But I can almost feel the ground shaking, because there’s an earthquake election going on all over this country.”
DeMint said it was Republicans’ failures in recent years, as well as the Democrats, that stirred voter enthusiasm.“When we had the majority and the White House, we spent too much, blew up the earmarks, didn’t do what we said we were going to do,” he said.“By the end of the night, we will not just see a Republican majority in the House, but a new Republican — Republicans committed to doing what they say. And if they don’t do what they say this time, not only are they out, but the Republican Party is dead and it should be.”
In the coming days, DeMint said he’s willing to work with anyone in Washington “whose guide is the constitution and limited government.“But I’m not going to compromise,” he said. “If we can debate how many government programs to cut, how much to lower the debt, then I can work with you.”