Story continues below videoDeMint's reelection campaign announcement:
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, flush with almost $3 million in his campaign coffers, set the audacious task of saving freedom Monday in announcing he will seek a second term in the U.S. Senate.
The Greenville Republican announced his re-election bid in an e-mail to supporters and a five-minute video on his campaign Web site, jimdemint.com.
DeMint's opposition to immigration reforms, strident criticism of government spending and attacks on President Barack Obama have transformed him from a little-known congressman into a national conservative leader.
In his video, DeMint ticks off the battles that have made him a rising figure among Republican activists across the country.
"I led the fight to stop illegal immigration and wasteful, pork-barrel earmarks," DeMint says in the video. "I fought against the moratorium on (oil and gas) exploration and led the fight against a government takeover of health care."
DeMint blocked a massive government-spending bill in December 2006, forcing appropriators to remove almost $1 billion in earmarks.
When President George W. Bush, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. John McCain and other senators from both parties advanced major immigration reforms in May 2007, DeMint labeled the bid "amnesty" and stoked national opposition that led to its defeat.
DeMint said "Obama ground troops are already in South Carolina," organizing the president's supporters to help defeat him.
DeMint cast his re-election campaign in broad bipartisan strokes, noting he has targeted Democrats and Republicans in trying to slow the government growth.
"It's been a tough fight," he says in the video. "Politicians in both parties continue to support more spending, more debt, higher taxes and more government takeovers."
DeMint, author of a new book called "Saving Freedom," uses the words "free" or "freedom" five times in the campaign clip.
DeMint said he ended the third quarter of 2009 with $2.8 million in the bank from campaign donors, giving him a large war chest that will make it difficult for anyone to challenge him next year.
The former marketing-firm owner was elected to the U.S. House in 1998 to represent his Upstate district.
After six years in the House, DeMint defeated former Gov. David Beasley in a 2004 Republican primary runoff to seek the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retiring Fritz Hollings.
In the 2004 general election, DeMint defeated Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, a former S.C. schools superintendent, to join Graham as the state's two U.S. senators.