SOUTH CAROLINA — US Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina is resigning from the Senate after eight years.
DeMint will step down to become the president of the conservative think tank 'The Heritage Foundation' in January. Governor Nikki Haley must now appoint DeMint's replacement through the year 2014. It was a a move that shocked many from the Palmetto State to Washington.
"I have played a role in stocking the Senate with solid conservatives who are younger, brighter, and better spokesmen than I am and so I know I am leaving the senate better than I found it with some real leaders,” said Sen. DeMint.
DeMint was first elected to the House in 1998 and won his second Senate term in 2010. The Greenville, S.C. native was the defacto leader for the Tea Party movement and a consistent fiscal conservative voice.
Earlier in the week, DeMint blasted a House Republican proposal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will appoint DeMint's successor in the coming weeks.
There will be an election in 2014 for the final two years of DeMint's current term, which would have Haley's appointment, Sen. Lindsday Graham, and Gov. Haley all possibly up for re-election at the same time if they choose to run.
"We're talking about three distinct Republican primaries where it could be no holds barred on all of them,” said Catawba College professor Michael Bitzer.
According to political analysts with CNN, some possible appointment choices for Sen. DeMint's seat include:
• Rep. Tim Scott
• Mick Mulvaney
• Former South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster
Gov. Nikki Haley said statement Thursday: Sen. Jim DeMint has served South Carolina and the national conservative movement exceptionally well.
The governor would not give any details on her upcoming appointment.