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Jim DeMint, Incumbent Senator

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You knew it would happen after this election:  the newly-elected “Tea Party” Republicans would begin their push for control of their party up against the entrenched members who have enjoyed their power and all its benefits.

The first shots in the battle for who will ultimately rule the Republican Party in the Senate were fired over, you guessed it, earmarks…and this battle promises to be interesting pitting two powerful Senators against each other.

Earmarks, to remind you, are monies inserted into legislation for projects in a legislator’s home state…it’s a way to keep people back home happy and, until the recent financial meltdown, to make sure of re-election.

South Carolina’s Jim DeMint is proposing a ban on Senate earmarking.  Demint, in case you didn’t know, has been a big supporter of fiscal conservatism and candidates who espouse the idea of smaller government and less spending.  So it’s no surprise that six new GOP senators – five of whom DeMint supported in the elections – have already signed onto DeMint’s proposal.

On the other side is minority leader Mitch McConnell, among others, who don’t see the need to cut pet projects out of the loop.  The divide is one of many to come.

Even though the vote on banning earmarks, if it happens, will be done in secret and will be non-binding, the issue is one of principal and the outcome will define the Republicans for the next few years.

Read the details here:  Earmark dispute splits GOP senators – Politics – Capitol Hill – msnbc.com.