Jim DeMint To Step Down From US Senate To Lead The Heritage Center


Big news this morning as one of the most stalwart conservative voices in the US Senate is stepping down. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who was last elected in 2010, will leave the Senate to take over at the Heritage Foundation:

South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina’s junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.

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.

Mr. Feulner, who is 71 and planned to step down, is to be named chancellor of Heritage, a new position, and will continue in a part-time capacity as chairman of the foundation’s Asian Studies Center.

DeMint has been a controversial figure, even among Republicans. He once said that he’d rather have a minority of “30 rock-ribbed conservatives” in the Senate than a majority with less conservative members. To that end, he’s been very active in promoting conservative candidates around the country, with mixed results. He was firmly behind Senator Rand Paul’s ultimately victorious challenge to the Republican establishment in Kentucky, but he was also behind the disastrous Christine O’Donnell candidacy in Delaware.

In the last cycle DeMint and his people were sniffing around North Dakota for a challenger to Rep. Rick Berg who had announced his candidacy for the Senate, but ultimately decided to leave the race alone when the only alternative they seemed to find was perennial candidate Duane Sand.

DeMint ruffled feathers in the Senate. No doubt he’ll continue to do so at what is perhaps the most influential conservative organization in America.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • LibertyFargo

    “He once said that he’d rather have a minority of “30 rock-ribbed conservatives” in the Senate than a majority with less conservative members.”

    I think I agree with him.

    The question is… what to do with Sen. Lindsey Graham? He doesn’t fit the mold of rock-ribbed conservative in the least…

    • Guest

      Graham’s seat is also up in 2014, when DeMint’s replacement will have to run to complete his term. Watch for Gov. Nikki Haley to resign and have her Lt. Gov. appoint her to DeMint’s seat, and then possibly Rep. Tim Scott (an African-American Tea Party member) will challenge Graham in the primary. It would be a great win-win for the conservative movement.

      • LibertyFargo

        I’m not sure Haley is better in the Senate… and besides… that looks VERY self-serving basically appoint herself when she could instead appoint a conservative to this post who could run in 2014 and perhaps pressure Grahamnisty to keep moving right or get out of the way for her own senate run? Or perhaps a VP slot?

  • Game

    Jim DeMint apparently went to the Sarah Palin school of Conservative Capitalism. That is the school that teaches you to say a lot of things that are extreme, use your elected office to build up a large a following, and the quit your office without ever having accomplished anything of value.

    • Onslaught1066

      You mean like Dumb-O.

      • Guest

        Since politicians only leave office if they were going to lose, clearly Demint did not think he would win re-election in four years. Derp.

        • Onslaught1066


          Is that you, blind squirrel?

  • Neiman

    He said today what I have been saying and most conservatives ignored. (1) We failed to communicate how conservatism was better for the people. (2) We ran against Obama and not FOR anything.

    He also mentioned the truth that the Ryan plan cut nothing, It only slowed the rate of growth which liberals cannot tolerate.

  • WOOF

    DeMint saw hunters coming at him from both wings.
    Rather than fight he’s retreated to the Heritage Foundation,
    the elephants graveyard.
    Haley’s shot at national prominence is now.
    She can warm a Senate seat and try to hang on in the
    off year election.
    She polls below Obama in South Carolina.

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    Is Jimmy D the first deserter in the gop Civil War?
    Whither thou goest, O once proud gop?

  • sbark

    Tim Scott is the inital leader to be appointed by Gov Haley——the only black american in the Senate?……….could be from the GOP
    they must be a bunch of racists

  • lucas

    I almost hate to agree with rbb, but i too also wondering(hoping) that this is the first crack in the republican party, with boehner purging everything conservative and no real direction from the gop other than our brand of big government is better than their brand of big government, the republican party needs to go the way of the whigs. they no longer represent anything substantially different than the socialist left.split the party let the conservatives and liberal republicans run on their own merit and we shall see which direction the money flows and may the best faction win and drive the other into extinction. yes i am aware that doing so hands full control of everything to the dems, but big deal the gop has been unwilling to even criticize let alone fiercely oppose anything obama has proposed let the left ruin this country, the voters have spoken they want a devastated economy and the heavy hand of big government striking down all those who dare succeed. any recovery is going to hurt everyone the faster the dems ruin this once great nation the faster conservatives can get to the job of restoring past glory. the country is at a crossroads, burn it down and rebuild it stronger. mealy mouth pansy-ass big government republicans have no place in the solution so they are by definition part of the problem.

    • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

      lucas, don’t fool yourself, gop has not been conservative since Ike left town.

      • lucas

        oh that is a sad fact that i recently came to understand, the results of this past election forced me to take a look at just what i was supporting a party or a principle and i’ve came to the conclusion that my party had no principles, which to me underscores the need for a civil war within the gop. the time for political niceties is over. the old guard of the gop needs to go away. we need fresh conservative leaders or we don’t need the gop. even with strong articulate intelligent conservative leadership we may still lose elections but i would rather lose on principles than win on a campaign of lies and deceit. america is in dire need of leadership, all the gop offers is political doublespeak and a proven history of abandoning sanity when they come under a little media scrutiny. my new post election motto is “burn it down and rebuild it stronger.” mainly referring to the country but i’d settle starting small with the gop.

        • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

          Who are your heroes, who champions what you consider conservative values?

          (please don’t say Raygun, please oh please don’t say Raygun)

          • lucas

            honestly right now there are no elected officials that i would call my heros. while there are plenty of names that have influenced my opinions there are probably none that i would fall in complete lock step with. perhaps its the inexperience of my youth and i may have yet to learn the great art of compromise but for now consider me set in my ways. yes i have great respect for reagan, but i wouldn’t consider him a god. i also liked some of the libertarian leanings of ron paul. i would be lying if i didn’t say that i enjoy listening to rush, not because i am a mindless sheep in need of direction, but rather i like the fact that he his unabashedly to the right of almost everyone and is committed to his convictions. currently i am on a mike church kick as he provides some historical perspective to reaffirm a more libertarian point of view. my conservatism didn’t come from a radio speaker though, conservatism to me has always just felt right, to me the basic need to just be left alone with minimal gov’t intervention has always resonated with me, and as i have gotten older and am now running my own farm i see first hand the ineffectiveness and waste of alot of federal programs. not a concise answer by any means and it disappoints me that i couldn’t just list off 10 conservative ‘hereos’ and feel 100% confident in my answer.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            Boorish talk radio buffoons? OK then.