Politico chronicles the growing popularity of Sen. Jim DeMint among the legion of tea-party inspired challengers to Republican incumbents. One point is that the vacuum created by the NRSC's decision not to spend money in primaries has allowed DeMint's own Senate Conservatives Fund to fill the gap. Now -- it's true that the NRSC is staying out of the primaries -- but it has never spent money on open-seat non-incumbent primaries, so the status quo remains fairly unchanged here. And not only has the NRSC endorsed several DeMint-approved candidates, like Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Tom Coburn in Oklahoma, it remains a potent fundraising force that DeMint cannot hope to match. It's well and good that DeMint is helping Marco Rubio raise $100,000 in Florida, but Charlie Crist has raised twelve six times as much as Rubio.

$12,000 for Chuck DeVore's race in California pays for postage stamps, but not for a mailing itself. And two Senators just as conservative as DeMint -- Sen. James Inhofe and Coburn, both of Oklahoma, are backing the NRSC-backed Carly Fiorina. In Politico, though anti-establishment Republican challenger Patrick Hughes has picked up some grassroots support as of late, he is still virtually unknown, even to Republicans, and he has virtually no money to spend. He may wind up becoming the next anti-establishment It Boy, but he has less than 70 days to go from zero to hero. DeMint is reportedly considering an endorsement.

"In the wake of the special election in New York's 23 CD, it's become fashionable to push a GOP civil war narrative, but the reality -- if you take a close look at these races on a race-by-race basis -- is more prosaic," a GOP strategist who follows these races closely says.

Case in point: even though Pat Toomey is up in the last Quinnipiac poll over Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak, it also showed that roughly 70% of Pennsylvania voters still don't know who he is -- so if that many voters don't know who Toomey is, are the vast majority of voters in PA and all these other states going to know who Jim DeMint is?

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