U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint will return to Washington for a second term after an easy election that saw his national status rise as a kingmaker for the tea party movement and an unlikely challenge from an oddball opponent.
Based on AP analysis of preliminary exit poll data, the Republican rolled over unemployed military veteran Alvin Greene, a Democrat who won his party's nomination but not its support.
Greene lives with his father and faces a felony obscenity charge, accused of showing pornography to a female college student. During occasional interviews in his nominal campaign, Greene insisted that DeMint had started the recession.
Greene barely campaigned and never raised enough to break the $5,000 threshold that required him to report finances.
DeMint spent $3.5 million he raised to instead help other conservative candidates.