Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint to Leave the Senate and Head the Heritage Foundation
From The Wall Street Journal...
South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina's junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.
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.
Mr. Feulner, who is 71 and planned to step down, is to be named chancellor of Heritage, a new position, and will continue in a part-time capacity as chairman of the foundation's Asian Studies Center.
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.
Mr. DeMint, an active conservative partisan often at odds with his party's leadership, says he will "protect the integrity of Heritage's research and not politicize the policy component. Heritage is not just another grassroots political group."
Running (hopeful) rumor is Rep. Tim Scott will be tapped by the governor to replace Demint.
UPDATE: Sen. DeMint's and Heritage Foundation Pres. Edwin J. Feulner's statements below the fold...
Just dropped into my email:
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.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced that he will leave the Senate at the beginning of January to become the next president of The Heritage Foundation, the largest and most respected conservative think tank in America.
"It's been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it's time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America's future.
"I'm leaving the Senate now, but I'm not leaving the fight. 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.
“I’m humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ed Feulner, who built the most important conservative institution in the nation. He has been a friend and mentor for years and I am honored to carry on his legacy of fighting for freedom.
"My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career. I came to Congress as a citizen legislator and I've always been determined to leave it as citizen legislator. South Carolina has a deep bench of conservative leaders and I know Governor Haley will select a great replacement.
"One of the most rewarding things I've done in the Senate is work with the grassroots to help elect a new generation of leaders who have the courage to fight for the principles of freedom that make this country so great. I'm confident these senators will continue the legacy of conservative leaders before them."
Jim DeMint was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 after owning a successful advertising and market research company for twenty years. DeMint left the House after limiting himself to three terms and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.
During his time in office, DeMint has been tireless advocate for Americans taxpayers. His goal has been to support and defend the Constitution, which was written to preserve liberty by restraining the federal government. Toward that end, he authored legislation to balance the budget, ban earmarks, replace the tax code, and reform our entitlement programs. He also led the fight against unconstitutional power grabs like the Wall Street bailout and Obamacare.