WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced Thursday that he is resigning from the United States Senate in January to become the next president of The Heritage Foundation, the largest and most respected conservative think tank in America.
"I'm leaving the Senate now, but I'm not leaving the fight,” DeMint said in a statement. “I've decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”
DeMint was first elected to the Senate in 2004 after serving in the House of Representatives since 1998. Prior to that, he ran a market research firm based in Greenville. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will now have to appoint a replacement for DeMint until the next election in 2014.
“U.S. Senator Jim DeMint has served South Carolina and the national conservative movement exceptionally well,” Haley said. “His voice for freedom and limited government has been a true inspiration. On a personal level, I value Jim’s leadership and friendship. Our state’s loss is the Heritage Foundation’s gain. I wish Jim and Heritage all the best in continuing our shared commitment to America’s greatness.”
There is much speculation on who Haley will appoint to the post. Many reports indicate that DeMint would like Tim Scott to succeed him in the Senate. Other reports indicate that Haley could appoint former attorney general Henry McMaster or former ambassador David Wilkins.
"My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career,” DeMint. “I came to Congress as a citizen legislator and I've always been determined to leave it as citizen legislator. South Carolina has a deep bench of conservative leaders and I know Governor Haley will select a great replacement.”