GOP Senator Resigns To Head Conservative Group

A Republican U.S. senator and prominent tea party supporter is stepping down.

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. (File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (December 6, 2012)--Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint is resigning his Senate seat to take the helm of a conservative think tank, his Washington office confirmed Thursday.

The prominent tea party supporter from South Carolina is stepping down to become president of the Heritage Foundation, effective Jan. 1, the senator’s office said.

DeMint was too busy to come to the phone, his office said.

DeMint, 61, was first elected to the Senate in 2004.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will appoint his successor.

His former state director Luke Byars said the new role will allow DeMint to effect change outside of the U.S. Capitol.

The political consultant says it's a vehicle for him to push and pull on conservative issues on a national stage to get the attention of people in Washington

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he looks forward to continuing to work with DeMint.

“Throughout his career Jim has been a tireless warrior for conservative principles and a passionate advocate for limited government in Congress and across America.

“I congratulate Jim and look forward to continuing to work with him as we fight for the causes and beliefs that we as conservatives hold dear,” he said.

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