DeMint: No regrets about pushing conservative Senate candidates

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said he had no doubts about supporting Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and other Republicans in key primary races this year.

DeMint, the leader of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that pushed through conservative, Tea Party candidates through GOP primaries earlier this year, said he was proud of his efforts.

"I'm glad I did this," DeMint said Thursday evening on CNBC. "I came into the Senate with 55 Republicans, and I'm afraid that not enough of them believed in free-market capitalism and limited government."

"Not at all," DeMint said when asked specifically if he had any regrets about supporting O'Donnell, who trails Democrat Chris Coons badly in her campaign.

The South Carolina senator, who's facing an easy reelection battle on Nov. 2, has played a major role in shaping this year's crop of GOP Senate candidates, and, potentially, the next crop of Republican senators.

Among the conservative candidates to unseat a Republican incumbent or establishment candidate in a primary are: Joe Miller in Alaska, Mike Lee in Utah, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck in Colorado, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Linda McMahon in Connecticut and O'Donnell in Delaware.

Some of those candidates are cruising to victory in their states, while others, who are locked in tight races with their Democratic opponents, have prompted speculation that more centrist candidates would have run more competitive races.

If many of those conservative candidates do end up winning and making their way to Washington, DeMint's influence in the Senate might be bolstered. Some observers have wondered aloud about whether or not DeMint might challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) for the position of Republican leader in the chamber.

"I don't think so. Mitch and I work together real well," DeMint explained. "I think Mitch and the whole leadership team are going to be good for the Republican Party. We share the same beliefs. So I'm looking forward to working with him and all the new Republicans to turn our country back from a cliff."