Now, just six months into his freshman year, the 40-year-old Republican junior senator from Utah has joined DeMint as a must-see for GOP candidates hoping to channel the energy of the tea party movement. He’s emerged as the second-most important conservative go-to guy in the Senate—and with DeMint’s pledge to not to marshal his resources against Republican incumbents this cycle, a meeting with Lee is essential for candidates battling the party establishment.

Lee has already met personally with more than a half a dozen candidates, made endorsements in two Senate primaries and set up a pair of leadership political action committees to aid those who share his constitutionalist brand of conservatism…

“If serious campaigns have not reached out to Lee yet, they certainly have plans to in the future,” said Tyler Harber, a Washington-based consultant who is advising underdog conservative candidates in Senate races in Indiana, New Mexico and Maine. “I won’t underestimate his reach and power,” Harber said.