Breaking: DeMint retiring from Senate
posted at 10:46 am on December 6, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who has led conservatives in the upper chamber for years, will resign his office next month, according to a statement from his office earlier this morning. DeMint will move across town to the Heritage Foundation and will become its new president:
Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced that he will leave the Senate at the beginning of January to become the next president of The Heritage Foundation, the largest and most respected conservative think tank in America.
“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.
“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.
During his time in office, DeMint has been tireless advocate for Americans taxpayers. His goal has been to support and defend the Constitution, which was written to preserve liberty by restraining the federal government. Toward that end, he authored legislation to balance the budget, ban earmarks, replace the tax code, and reform our entitlement programs. He also led the fight against unconstitutional power grabs like the Wall Street bailout and Obamacare.
The Wall Street Journal breaks down the political situation of DeMint’s departure:
Sen. DeMint’s departure means that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, will name a successor, who will have to run in a special election in 2014. In that year, both Mr. DeMint’s replacement and Sen. Lindsey Graham will be running for reelection in South Carolina.
Mr. DeMint was reelected to a second term in 2010. The 61-year-old senator had announced earlier that he would not seek a third term.
Frankly, I’m disappointed by the move, although this gives Heritage a big boost. I had hoped to see DeMint act as a conservative leader in the Senate for the next four years, especially with Democrats taking a bigger majority after this past election. Haley will make a wise appointment, I’m sure, and other Republicans in the chamber will get an opportunity to fill his shoes. However, considering the fights ahead of us, it would have been much better to have DeMint as a stalwart on the inside rather than an activist on the outside.
Regardless, I wish Senator DeMint the best, and thank him for his invaluable service to the conservative cause over the last several years. I’m glad we’ll see him at Heritage, and look forward to the great work he will do there.