COLUMBIA -- U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, a tea party favorite who has become something of a conservative kingmaker, coasted to a GOP primary win Tuesday against a little-known challenger who used to be a Democrat.
DeMint is seeking a second term and came to the race with millions of dollars and little worries about re-election. He defeated Charleston lawyer Susan Gaddy in the primary, with 85 percent of the vote, and will face the winner of two Democrats in November.
With 73 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary, unemployed military veteran Alvin Greene, 32, of Manning, is leading with 58.8 percent over former legislator and judge Vic Rawl, 64, of Charleston, with 41.2 percent.
"South Carolinians know that America's greatness is based on personal freedom, limited government, time-honored values, and a strong national defense," DeMint said in a statement.
"I pledge to keep fighting for these South Carolina values and against Washington Democrats' liberal policies that have left us with record-high unemployment and a mountain of debt."
DeMint amassed $5.9 million over the past six years, using some to pay off past campaign debt and on fundraising expenses. He has $3.5 million available for the fall.