Jim DeMint: "I've never been a part of the tea party in my life"

“I’m not involved with it at all,” DeMint shot back. “What we’re doing is trying to cultivate the right ideas.”

“You’re seen as one of the backers – one of the intellectual godfather of the tea party,” Kissel said. “So, whether or not, financially, Heritage backs these candidates is a separate issue.”

She pivoted to Kansas where a second tea party candidate is trailing the incumbent Republican. “You can’t say one candidate is tea party and the other is not,” DeMint said.

“Oh, come on, Senator,” Kissel interjected. “Milton Wolf, Matt Bevin, Steve Stockman in Texas. They’re all running under the tea party banner and they’re all trailing by double digits. Why?”

“I don’t know if they’re calling themselves tea party candidates or not,” DeMint replied. “I’m called a senator tea party and I’ve never been a part of a tea party in my life. I’ve been to a lot of meetings.”