Jim DeMint, the conservative senator from South Carolina, is stepping down to head up the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. While DeMint had announced that he would not seek a third term in 2016, his move comes as a surprise, and will require South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to appoint a replacement before a special election is held in 2014. DeMint, a Tea Party favorite, has been a leading figure of the conservative movement, and an occasional thorn in the side of the Republican Party, backing several far-right primary candidates for the Senate that have gone on to lose their general election races.
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