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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is touting the Wisconsin Senate candidacy of former Rep. Mark Neumann and is asking supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund whether the political action committee should endorse Neumann in the GOP primary.
DeMint's Wednesday morning email was the latest indication that Neumann will have support from outside conservative groups in a likely primary fight against former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is expected to jump into the race.
DeMint, who has become popular with tea party supporters for bucking the GOP establishment on the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill, could help Neumann build grass-roots support in what could quickly become a nasty and expensive intraparty duel. Neumann hasn't shied away in the past from using his personal funds to bankroll his campaigns. Thompson is well-connected in fundraising circles in both Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
In the email, DeMint called Neumann a "full-spectrum conservative" and someone who "will fight to save freedom." Without mentioning his name, DeMint referred to Thompson as "a Democrat-lite Republican" and someone who "will not stand up for our values when it matters."
"I could go on and on about Mark Neumann's conservative credentials, but you get the picture," DeMint wrote. "He's the real deal. So here's my question: Do you think SCF should endorse Mark Neumann and add him to our slate of conservative candidates for the 2012 elections?"