Republican U.S. representative for South Carolina's 4th District,
Jim DeMint, hopes his message of smaller government, strong national
defense and family values will appeal to the traditionally conservative
voters in his bid to replace retiring seven-term Democratic Sen.
Ernest "Fritz" Hollings.
his career as a legislator DeMint has advocated for a simpler
tax code and even doing away with federal income tax, a theme
he continues to focus on during the campaign.
time to throw it [the current tax code] out and replace it with
a new system that is fair, flat and promotes growth. The longer
we wait to reform our tax code the more we burden workers and
families," DeMint said during a campaign visit in August.
however, moved away from his earlier calls to establish a national
sales tax, saying that the media has treated him unfairly on the
issue. In a June Washington Post article DeMint is quoted as saying:
"that's not an argument I'm going to win on the campaign
one of 54 cosponsors of a House bill that calls for a 23 percent
national sales tax.
Even in a
state with a strong textile market that has seen the loss of tens
of thousands of jobs since 2001, DeMint strongly supports free
trade. DeMint has said that trade agreements and reduced tariffs
will improve the economic situation in the United States.
international companies are not going to locate in this country
or this state if they don't have access to markets. ... That means
trade agreements and reduction of tariffs," DeMint said,
according to a Myrtle Beach newspaper. "The real story is
clear: The public perception and how the media has covered it
has created a totally different perception that trade is costing
us all our jobs, when, in fact ... trade is creating the jobs
we're getting, our high-paying jobs."
DeMint grew up in a South Carolina steeped in the conservative
values he now endorses. He was born Sept. 2, 1951 in Greenville
to Tom DeMint and Betty DeMint Batson. He received a Bachelor's
degree from the University of Tennessee in 1973. After graduation,
DeMint married his high school sweetheart, Debbie Henderson. They
have four children. He worked as a sales representative for Scott
Paper from 1973-75.
Clemson University and graduated with a Master of Business Administration
degree in 1981. He founded DeMint Marketing, a research firm with
clients in the commercial, education and medical fields, in 1983.
This background in marketing research would come to help DeMint
in his future promotion of a Republican message.
consciousness was awakened in 1992 when he went to work for Bob
Inglis' successful House campaign. DeMint is quoted as saying
he wanted to be a part of the solution to America's problems.
increasingly concerned that the freedoms we take for granted in
America are under attack in such a subtle way that no one is noticing
it. I developed the feeling that I had a burden to try to change
things," he has said.
first elected to Congress in 1998, after Inglis kept his campaign
promise to serve no more than three terms. Like Inglis, DeMint
ran on a pledge to serve only three terms and to take no PAC money.
His platform called for a national sales tax, individual retirement
accounts in Social Security, and for the right-to-life amendment.
of the freshman class, DeMint soon became a popular conservative
voice in the House and his supporters extended beyond Capitol
Hill. He secured the endorsement of President Bush for his Senate
In the House,
DeMint is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee,
serving as vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Employer and Employee
Relations. He serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee and the Small Business Committee.
for the Online NewsHour by Annie