Sen. Jim DeMint will resign his seat next year and take over the Heritage Foundation, the think tank announced Thursday.
Jim DeMint will leave the Senate in January to become president-elect of the foundation, succeeding Edwin J. Feulner, the think tank's founder in 1973 and president of the past 36 years.
DeMint will take over as president on April 3.
The ideas for who should replace DeMint are already flying on social media. Immediate speculation for replacement focused on U.S. Rep Tim Scott from Charleston.
But the decision goes to Gov. Nikki Haley, who will pick a replacement to fill the seat until a special election can be held in November 2014.
“U.S. Senator Jim DeMint has served South Carolina and the national conservative movement exceptionally well," said Haley in a statement.
"His voice for freedom and limited government has been a true inspiration. On a personal level, I value Jim’s leadership and friendship. Our state’s loss is the Heritage Foundation’s gain. I wish Jim and Heritage all the best in continuing our shared commitment to America’s greatness.”
During a visit to Daniel Island, he referenced the new class of legislators in the state's House Delegation and suggested a worthy replacement could be found there.
Here is DeMint's full statement on resigning from the Senate and taking over the Heritage Foundation:
"It's been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it's time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America's future.
"I'm leaving the Senate now, but I'm not leaving the fight. I've decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. 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.
“I’m humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ed Feulner, who built the most important conservative institution in the nation. He has been a friend and mentor for years and I am honored to carry on his legacy of fighting for freedom.
"My constituents know that being a Senator was never going to be my career. I came to Congress as a citizen legislator and I've always been determined to leave it as citizen legislator. South Carolina has a deep bench of conservative leaders and I know Governor Haley will select a great replacement.
"One of the most rewarding things I've done in the Senate is work with the grassroots to help elect a new generation of leaders who have the courage to fight for the principles of freedom that make this country so great. I'm confident these senators will continue the legacy of conservative leaders before them."