South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) is turning his attention to 2012 and using the vote this week on an earmark moratorium to pick his Democratic targets.
DeMint sent an email to the supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund early Wednesday highlighting four Democrats who voted against the earmark ban, are up for re-election in 2012 and sit in states that John McCain (R) carried in 2008: Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
The email is DeMint's first foray into the 2012 cycle and suggests he will continue to direct Tea Party energy in 2012. DeMint was something of a kingmaker on the far right in 2010, backing several conservative insurgent primary challengers to establishment Republicans -- such as Sen.-elect Marco Rubio (R) in Florida and Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R) in Utah.
In the email, DeMint called for unseating Tester, Nelson, Conrad and Manchin.
"These senators are nice folks but they have ignored the will of the American people and they must be replaced with principled conservatives in 2012," he said. "That's where the Senate Conservatives Fund comes in and it's where you can help. We've already begun the process of building campaigns against these other liberals in the Senate who are driving our nation deeper and deeper into debt."
DeMint went on to ask for money -- stating that his fund will need "at least $4 million" to win the four races.
Don't Miss Today's Top Stories
Chock full of usable information on today's issues."
Michael, Executive Director
Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."
Chuck, Graduate Student
The day's action in one quick read."
Stacy, Director of Communications
Great way to keep up with Washington"
Ray, Professor of Economics