Sen. Jim DeMint said Thursday he'll resign from the Senate to go run the Heritage Foundation, the powerhouse conservative think tank that dominates Republican policy circles.
"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," Mr. DeMint said in a statement announcing the news.
He will step down from the Senate in January and will take over for Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner in April.
Mr. DeMint, a tea party favorite who became a major electoral force in the 2010 elections, helping promote tea party candidates in primaries against establishment GOP favorites, said he's ready to shift to the policy arena.
He said he never intended for the Senate to be a career for him. He previously served six years in the House and won election to the Senate in 2004 and re-election in 2010.
His seat is safe for Republicans, with the GOP firmly in control of South Carolina's political landscape and Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, able to pick his immediate successor.
Mr. Feulner, who co-founded the Heritage Foundation in the 1970s and has been its president since 1977, said Mr. DeMint is the right man to succeed him.
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