Does the GOP have a Jim DeMint problem?

But while DeMint enjoys his growing influence in the conservative movement and is treated like a rock star at tea party rallies, he’s causing problems within the Republican establishment. GOP critics accuse him of unnecessarily hurting the party’s prospects in next year’s midterms by fueling contentious primaries and pushing candidates who may be loved by the base but struggle in the general election.

“He’s certainly speaking for an intense point of view in the party, but the ultimate test is whether or not the Republican nominee wins the general elections. If they lose, it strengthens the liberal Democrats,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “Adding more Democrats to [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s team does not advance the Republican cause.”

DeMint says primaries are a helpful part of the process and that candidates are increasingly reaching out to him instead of the NRSC because “anything associated with the establishment now is not considered an asset in a Republican race.”…

“My preference is that we get more conservatives in the Senate,” Cornyn said. “The challenge we have is that somebody as conservative as Jim DeMint can’t get elected nor as conservative as John Cornyn can’t get elected in some parts of the country, even as a Republican. That’s the challenge.”