Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of the most prominent conservative voices on Capitol Hill, will leave the Senate to run the Heritage Foundation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In an interview preceding the succession announcement, Sen. DeMint said he is taking the Heritage job because he sees it as a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public. “This is an urgent time,” the senator said, “because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections.” Mr. DeMint, who was a market researcher before he entered politics, said he plans to take the Heritage Foundation’s traditional research plus that of think tanks at the state level and “translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work.” He said, “We want to figure out what works at the local and state level” and give those models national attention.
The Journal reports “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.” That means South Carolina voters will choose two Senators that year, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) is up for reelection.
DeMint plans to join Heritage in the first week of January, meaning he will not be part of the 113th Congress, the WSJ adds.