Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) made no apologies Friday for stirring up "vigorous” GOP primaries this cycle.

DeMint has backed insurgent candidates over the party establishment's picks, with mixed results, in primaries from Colorado to New Hampshire.

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“The good news for me as a Republican is this,” DeMint told attendees at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. “As some of you know, I have been working for the last year to stir up some vigorous primaries between establishment Republicans and Republicans who stand for those principles of freedom.

“And folks, instead of diminishing our party, because of you, people like you all over the country, there has been one upset after another all over the country,” the senator said.

“See, the Republicans in the Senate who went out and campaigned on, ‘You need me because I can bring home the bacon.’ But even in Alaska, the home of bacon, they threw out that senator [Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiGOP governors confront Medicaid divide GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood A guide to the committees: Senate MORE] and ushered in Joe Miller.”


DeMint also singled out Republican Senate candidates Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Marco RubioMarco RubioAt CPAC, Trump lashes out at media Conquering Trump returns to conservative summit Rubio brushes off demonstrator asking about town halls MORE in Florida, Rand PaulRand PaulConquering Trump returns to conservative summit Rand Paul rejects label of 'Trump's most loyal stooge' GOP healthcare plans push health savings account expansion MORE in Kentucky, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware.

“We have some candidates,” he said. “Folks, this is no longer voting for the least worst on the ballot. We’ve got some candidates we can be proud of.”

DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund announced before his speech that he has raised $174,000 for O'Donnell, who upset Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in Tuesday’s primary.

DeMint said the GOP is expanding because of conservative activism. “There is a big tent out there waiting for us on November the 2nd.”