WASHINGTON – Fresh off the tea party’s show of election might, GOP Sen. Jim DeMint said he’ll force a showdown next week with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other old guard Republicans over “earmarked” pet projects that DeMint and other victors last week made a symbol of out-of-control deficit spending.

The South Carolina Republican, buoyed by support from six GOP freshmen, is optimistic he’ll win a change in internal GOP rules to effectively bar any Republican from seeking earmarks.

DeMint won backing from 25 Senate Republicans, including McConnell, earlier this year to impose an earmark ban on Republicans and Democrats alike. The proposal was easily defeated by Democrats and 14 pro-earmark Republicans.

Earmarks include road and bridge projects, grants to local police department and community development projects, among many, many others.