Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who has often criticized fellow Republicans from the right, is resigning to become president of the Heritage Foundation. DeMint has been mentioned as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016 and the move could potentially free him up from grubby political compromises that primary voters hold in disdain.
The tea party leader made the announcement that he'd replace Ed Feulner as Heritage president in January. "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," DeMint said in a statement.
DeMint had already planned to retire after his term ended in January 2017, but he gave no indications that he'd leave with more than four years left in his term. He previously served three terms in the House.
Reactions were mixed early Thursday, with many political observers suggesting there's more to DeMint's move than meets the eye. "BTW, is there a clearer signal that GOP will cave on tax rates than the sudden departure of Jim DeMint?" tweeted Democratic consultant Josh Nanberg (@jnanberg).
National Review's Jim Geraghty was already looking ahead to potential replacements. South Carolina Nikki Haley, a Republican, will appoint DeMint's successor. "Names you'll hear a lot about in coming days: Reps. Tim Scott, Mick Mulvaney, state AG Alan Wilson (son of Joe), State Sen. Tom Davis," Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) tweeted.
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