Jim DeMint Leaving Senate: Move Makes Sense

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Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate. Read more from The Washington Post below and then get The Brody File analysis.

 
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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is leaving Congress in January to lead the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

DeMint, a staunch conservative who often clashes with party leadership, was reelected to a second term in 2010. He will depart before the new Congress is sworn in next month.

"I've decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas," DeMint said in a statement. "My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career."

The senator, a vocal advocate for term limits, had already pledged not to seek a third term.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will appoint DeMint's successor, who will serve until a 2014 special election. That means two Senate races in the Palmetto State that year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) -- targeted by many of the conservatives who love DeMint -- is up for reelection.

Before entering politics, DeMint worked in market research, and he told the Journal that he's excited about taking Heritage Foundation research and working to "translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work."

DeMint will take over from Ed Fuelner, who has been president of the Heritage Foundation since 1977. In 2010 Fuelner earned a total compensation of $1,098,612 -- far more than the annual Senate salary of $174,000.

"Senator DeMint has done more to advance the cause of freedom and liberty in Congress than anyone else since his election," said Chris Chocola, president of the anti-tax Club for Growth, in a statement congratulating the senator. "We wish him nothing but the best in his new role at Heritage."

Seen headed to his office near the Senate chamber, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not respond to questions about DeMint, keeping to his tradition of ignoring reporter questions while walking the halls.

Look, let's be real here. Without Jim DeMint sticking his neck out on the line with his endorsements and Senate PAC money, there would be no Tea Party movement in the Senate with the likes of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, etc.

Watch out for DeMint in the future. A source close to DeMint tells me that this move is designed so he can have more influence from the outside than the inside. He had term-limited himself anyhow so in a way it makes sense for him to go elsewhere.

Think about it. He would have been gone by 2016 anyhow and in the next four years he would have found himself as a minority within a minority (that is, a constitutional conservative within the GOP). With a Senate makeup of 55-45 Dems, he wouldn't be able to get much done anyhow.


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