September 15th, 2010
11:56 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Sen. Jim. DeMint

The South Carolina Republican is either the most influential conservative outside of Sarah Palin or "leader on the fringe," depending on who's describing him.

DeMint has repeatedly broken with the GOP establishment to help conservative candidates secure primary victories. His Senate Conservative Fund supported Christine O'Donnell, who won the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware on Tuesday, and Carl Paladino, who will now face Democrat Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor of New York.

Politico reported Tuesday that DeMint had transferred $250,000 from his own re-election fund to the Florida Republican Party. DeMint has supported Marco Rubio's campaign in Florida for the U.S. Senate.

Some of DeMint's moves have upset mainstream Republicans. An unnamed source told CNN Tuesday night that DeMint was boosting Democrats' chances of victory in November.

The Conservative Senate Fund's Matt Hoskins came to DeMint's defense: "Perhaps the real reason some unnamed leadership aides are upset is that these Republicans actually have principles."

CNN Political Ticker: DeMint's operation fires back

Politico: DeMint transfers $250K to Florida GOP