South Carolina will have two Senate races in 2014. Senior Sen. Lindsey Graham is expected to run for re-election, and now there will be a special election to replace 61-year-old Sen. Jim DeMint. Today, Sen. DeMint abruptly announced that he will leave the Senate in January to helm the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.
In an interview preceding the succession announcement, Sen. DeMint said he is taking the Heritage job because he sees it as a vehicle to popularize conservative ideas in a way that connects with a broader public. “This is an urgent time,” the senator said, “because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections.” Mr. DeMint, who was a market researcher before he entered politics, said he plans to take the Heritage Foundation’s traditional research plus that of think tanks at the state level and “translate those policy papers into real-life demonstrations of things that work.” He said, “We want to figure out what works at the local and state level” and give those models national attention.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will name DeMint’s successor in the Senate, who will serve until the 2014 special election.
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