Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that he is not running for a Senate leadership position, despite a report that he was open to such a campaign.


The Greenville (S.C.) News reported Tuesday that the conservative senator did not rule out a run for leadership but had ruled out a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE (R-Ky.) 

On a conference call with a Senate candidate he endorsed, DeMint told the conservative Daily Caller that he would not seek a leadership spot:

DeMint made the remarks while on a conference call with Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP Republicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years MORE, running for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin. When The Daily Caller asked Johnson, who was endorsed by DeMint, if he would support the South Carolina as leader, DeMint interrupted him.

“Let me jump in there, because I’m not running for a leadership position, and so I don’t want you to try to answer that question,” he said. “What we really need up here is a group of Republican senators who are gonna pull our leadership in the right direction, and Ron, I think that’s what I think you can help us do.”

He continued: “I didn’t want you to split the hairs on that because I’m not running for leadership.”

Some observers have speculated that DeMint would make a run for leadership. He has endorsed candidates in Senate GOP primary races that ran against candidates backed by the party establishment, including Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE, whose opponent was endorsed by McConnell.

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