Jim DeMint, South Carolina's junior Republican senator and a stalwart conservative, will resign his Senate seat next month to become the president of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative Washington-based think tank. The Wall Street Journal reports:
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.
Update: Outgoing Heritage president Ed Feulner has emailed out this message about his successor:
Three years ago, I told the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees that I would step down as president in April of 2013. I urged them to set up a formal succession process and begin a national search.
During their nationwide search, the Board looked for a successor who would keep Heritage on its course of growth and innovation, and preserve our widely acknowledged status as an institutional center of the conservative movement. And the Board has found a splendid successor.
I'm delighted to announce that the Board has elected Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina to take over next April as President of The Heritage Foundation.
Jim, who will resign his Senate seat before then, needs little introduction. He has spent most of his life as an entrepreneur, building and running his own marketing firm. In 1998 he won a seat in the House of Representatives and in 2004 was elected to the Senate.
His conservative credentials are sterling. National Journal recently ranked him as the most conservative member of the Senate. Americans for Tax Reform named him the No. 1 senator for his voting record on tax and spending policies. He is a favorite of the Tea Party, and he has earned a tremendous 99% rating from Heritage Action for America.
It puts my mind at ease to know that Jim's capable hands will take the helm. I know Heritage will continue to uphold the same high standards and conservative principles that we have since our founding in 1973.
We will remain committed to principle
And it's no surprise that our Board chose a principled leader like Jim DeMint. Everything we do at Heritage is guided by our mission statement. It is even written in our charter that Heritage is established "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."
Heritage's Trustees are the guardians of the institution's integrity. All are conservatives dedicated to preserving America's freedoms.
Moreover, our Board committed a decade ago not to follow in the footsteps of all too many organizations that lurch to the left over time. They pledged that all candidates for senior management and trustee are vetted "to ensure that they are totally committed to the Heritage Vision and Mission."
I hope you will join me in knowing that Jim will not only preserve the Heritage mission but will also lead the institution to greater achievements as America's premiere conservative institution.
Our plan for the coming months
Between now and April, I'll spend time with Jim showing him the ins and outs of my duties as president.
In April, my wife Linda and I will take an extended vacation -- in part to allow Jim the freedom to take the reins. After that, I will remain involved with The Heritage Foundation and the conservative movement. I will continue as a Heritage Trustee and advisor to the team and as an enthusiastic supporter of Jim's leadership.
I hope you will join me and the entire conservative movement as I welcome Jim DeMint and a new era of our fight for freedom. Thank you for all you do.
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.