Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In a bolt out of the blue that no one saw coming, Tea Party Darlin' Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) announced that he is resigning from the Senate to head the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. Jim DeMint resigning from Senate to head conservative think tank:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a leading conservative voice in the Senate, will resign his seat in January to become the next president of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, a sudden move with far-reaching implications.
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“I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight,” he continued. “I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of DeMint’s resignation. DeMint will succeed Ed Feulner, who has been president of the foundation since 1977. Feulner will depart in April.
“This is a crucial moment for America and for the conservative movement — and we are seizing it,” said Thomas A. Saunders, chairman of the Heritage Foundation’s board. “Ed Feulner has made Heritage not just a permanent institution on Capitol Hill, but the flagship organization of the entire conservative movement.”
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According to a Washington Post analysis of congressional wealth, DeMint is among the poorest members of Congress. His estimated wealth in 2010 was $40,501. He could stand to receive a significant bump in pay in his new position. Feulner’s total 2010 compensation package from Heritage was more than $1 million, tax records show.
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The responsibility to fill DeMint’s vacancy in the Senate will fall to his state’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley. Haley will appoint a replacement to serve until the next general election, in 2014. That means South Carolina will have two Senate elections in 2014, with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) also up for reelection that year.
Some names that are likely to be tossed around as possible replacements include Rep. Tim Scott, who would become the only black senator and the first black Republican senator since the 1970s, and members of the state’s House delegation, which includes Reps. Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney.
DeMint privately has told state Republican officials that he wants Scott to succeed him, according to a South Carolina Republican operative with knowledge of the conversations.
“Jim DeMint has said he wants Tim Scott — period,” the operative said. “The ball is in Governor Haley’s court. Does she go with the status quo and appoint Scott? I think it would be hard not to.”
But the operative, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations, said Haley also may appoint a placeholder to serve until the 2014 election; two names under discussion are former attorney general Henry McMaster and former ambassador David Wilkins. That would set off what the operative called “a massive brawl” of a GOP primary for the open seat.
The ambitious Haley likely has designs on the Senate seat herself, so the placeholder option seems a real possibility. And John McCain's BFF Lindsey Graham is facing a Tea Party challenger in the GOP primary. It's going to be a Cracker-tacular doubleheader in the Palmetto State in 2014.
To learn more: Heritage Foundation - SourceWatch.
Note: You may recall that it was Jim DeMint who first argued that defeating Obama’s health reform bill would be his “Waterloo.” ObamaCare won, and so did President Obama in 2012. it is Jim DeMint who is now gone. Good riddance.
UPDATE: That didn't take long: South Carolina native son Stephen Colbert volunteers for Senate duty!
UPDATE: Astute observation from Ezra Klein (although I would argue that the Heritage Foundation has not had a serious policy proposal in years, and this is just another step its steady decline). Jim DeMint and the death of think tanks. "To state the obvious, you don't name Jim DeMint head of your think tank because you're trying to improve the quality of your scholarship. You name DeMint head of your think tank because you're trying to become the leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party."