South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, often the conservative conscience of the Senate, will resign his seat next month and assume leadership of the Heritage Foundation. He will replace long-time Heritage President Ed Fuelner.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will name a successor. She could name herself to the seat or tap a rising conservative figure like Rep. Tim Scott. DeMint’s replacement will then have to run for election in 2014. The state is already shaping up as a major battleground race for conservatives, with many grass roots organizations contemplating a primary challenge to Sen. Lindsay Graham.
The state is now set to have two marquee Senate races in 2014. Depending on who Haley names to replace DeMint, it could have a profound impact on political calculations in the state. Politicians who may have contemplated challenging Graham in a primary may instead focus on defeating DeMint’s successor.
DeMint’s decision says a lot about the current state of affairs in Washington. He obviously feels he can do more for conservatives from the platform of the Heritage Foundation than the United States Senate. Politics is failing conservatives. There are numerous reasons for this, and some part of the onus is on us. Conservatives need to reinvigorate the battle for ideas. They need to renew the drive for liberty and freedom. They need to reengage in the cultural battle for ideas.
DeMint has been a great political warrior. He can be an even better warrior for liberty.