U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint could gain a high-profile challenger later this summer.

State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said he is looking at entering the race and plans to make a decision by Labor Day.

"A lot of people have asked me about that, and I have responded to them that I would consider that," he said. "I've been in the process of talking to people about that, but I haven't made any decisions yet."

Hutto, a 51-year-old lawyer, was elected to the District 40 Senate seat in 1996.

If Hutto runs he would be expected to face a primary challenge from Mike Ruckes, a Summerville retiree. That vote would take place in June 2010, and the winner would face DeMint in November.

So far DeMint has no Republican opposition.

Neither Ruckes nor Hutto has filed with the Federal Election Commission. DeMint has more than $2 million on hand, according to his March 31 report, and he has been asking supporters to join "Club 2010" by donating $17.76.

"We want to raise $17,760 by the end of the quarter to show the far left that we'll continue fighting their socialist agenda," he said in an e-mail.