DeMint open to seeking leadership spot

Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) said Tuesday that he is open to running for a spot on the Senate Republican leadership team.

One of the Senate's most outspoken conservatives, DeMint has broken with his party's leadership in a number of Senate primaries. He left open the possibility of an attempt to join the ranks of his party's leaders.

DeMint told the Greenville (S.C.) News that challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is "not my plan," though he said he is open to seeking an "elected leadership position once 10 to 15 new conservatives — many of them supported by DeMint — join the ranks as he expects," the News wrote. 

DeMint has previously balked at running for Senate GOP leader, but his openness to running for a lower post could raise eyebrows on Capitol Hill.

His statement comes amid growing speculation among some Democrats and Republicans that the GOP could take back the Senate, though the goal would still be difficult for the GOP to achieve due to the amount of competitive races it would need to win. 

The South Carolina senator has backed several Senate GOP primary candidates who were initially not endorsed by leadership, such as former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio and Kentucky's Rand Paul. Both men emerged over candidates first favored by the party establishment; Paul's opponent was even endorsed by McConnell.

Likewise, several conservative primary candidates have spoken glowingly of DeMint, whose Senate Conservatives Fund has helped them raise their profiles.

DeMint, who has gained the backing of some Tea Party groups that have also supported his candidates, has argued publicly with some members of his own party over the grassroots groups, including his state counterpart Sen. Lindsey Graham.