Jim DeMint Resigns Senate Seat

US Senator Jim DeMint is leaving Congress to become the president of the Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think-tank. His resignation becomes effective in early January.

The South Carolina Republican and Tea Party favorite was reelected for a second, six-year term in 2010. His resignation presents the state with a unique double election in 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal:

“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.”

Haley will appoint someone to fill the South Carolina Senate seat until the special election takes place. It’s highly likely that both seats will stay in Republican hands after the 2014 balloting.

As a proponent of term limits, DeMint had already announced he wouldn’t run for a third term. At Heritage, he replaces Ed Feulner, who is retiring but will stay involved in the organization in other capacities.

According to the WSJ, the senator wants to connect Heritage ideas to the local level:

“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.”