Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, who some have called a "kingmaker" this election cycle with his success in picking conservatives who ousted some GOP establishment picks in rough and tumble Republican primaries, threw his support Tuesday behind another GOPer --- West Virginia businessman John Raese who is in a neck and neck contest against popular Democratic Governor Joe Manchin (Raese bests Manchin 48%-45% in a new Fox poll).

DeMint, through his Senate Conservatives Fund, released a statement announcing the endorsement, saying, "John Raese is a principled conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are bankrupting our country."  

The SCF has, so far, raised nearly $5 million for its bevy of 11 would-be senators, so Raese should receive an influx of funds and support.

Should these men and women, most of them also supported by the Tea Party, win their elections (all but Delaware's Christine O'Donnell are in tight races or are ahead), DeMint should have a substantial caucus of members who have agreed to advance fiscally responsible policies. Many politicos have suggested the unassuming southerner might have his eye on a bigger political prize, but DeMint often outright dismisses that notion or demurs.

One area that should produce an interesting discussion among Republicans in the new session is whether or not to ban all earmarks.   Republicans in the House have promised to ban the practice of tailoring money to their states for specific projects, but some Senate Republicans, particularly appropriators, have said they are not likely to agree to such a thing.  DeMint on Tuesday touted Raese's pledge to oppose the practice.