South Carolina's junior Sen. Jim DeMint will resign from the Senate in January to head up Washington think-tank the Heritage Foundation beginning in January, according to a press release from the senator's office.
"It's been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years,but now it's time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America's future," said DeMint in a statement from his office," DeMint said.
"I'm leaving the Senate now, but I'm not leaving the fight. 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."
"I'm humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ed Feulner, who built the most important conservative institution in the nation. He has been a friend and mentor for years and I am honored to carry on his legacy of fighting for freedom."
"My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career. 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."
"One of the most rewarding things I've done in the Senate is work with the grassroots to help elect a new generation of leaders who have the courage to fight for the principles of freedom that make this country so great. I'm confident these senators will continue the legacy of conservative leaders before them."
Jim DeMint was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 after owning a successful advertising and market research company for twenty years. DeMint left the House after limiting himself to three terms and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.
Upon hearing the news, Governor Nikki Haley issued the following statement:
"U.S. Senator Jim DeMint has served South Carolina and the national conservative movement exceptionally well. 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."
South Carolina's United States Congressman Tim Scott also issued a statement:
"I first want to thank Senator DeMint for the tremendous work he has done on behalf of South Carolina and the nation. His commitment to conservative principles leaves a true legacy, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know and work with him over the past two years. Looking forward, Governor Haley will now appoint a new Senator, and I know she will make the right choice both for South Carolina and the nation."
And State Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly called the senator a "conservative rock star" during his statement:
"At the Heritage Foundation, he will be in an even greater position to spark revolutionary change. I commend his principled leadership and service to our state. Thank you, Senator."
DeMint's predecessor, Ed Feulner, has presided over the Heritage Foundation since 1977. His salary in 2010 was listed at $947,999 .
Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved. WIS contributed to this report.