Posted at: 12/06/2012 10:15 AM
Updated at: 12/06/2012 2:52 PM
By: SEANNA ADCOX, Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint is resigning his Senate seat to take the helm of a conservative think tank.
DeMint's Washington office confirmed Thursday that the prominent tea party supporter from South Carolina is stepping down to become president of the Heritage Foundation, effective Jan. 1.
His office said DeMint was too busy to come to the phone.
The 61-year-old Republican was first elected to the Senate in 2004.
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley gets to appoint his successor to the Senate.
His former state director Luke Byars says the new role allows DeMint to affect 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.
Governor won't appoint herself to Senate
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she will not appoint herself to replace DeMint.
The Republican governor took questions from callers on WORD-FM on Thursday. She promised to appoint someone who would fight for conservative ideas.
Haley says she had no timetable to announce her pick to replace DeMint, but says she will not drag the decision out. She also didn't mention whether she is supporting anyone specifically.
Whomever Haley appoints would face a special election in 2014 to finish DeMint's term, which expires in 2016.
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