In a move that surprised even the insiders , Senator Jim DeMint announced he would be resigning from his Senate seat in January to take the helm of The Heritage Foundation.
He will be replacing Ed Feulner, who has been president since 1977. In remarks made at the foundation’s headquarters, he said:
“This is a critical time for America and there is no organization in the country, in fact, the world, that is better positioned to convince the American people that the conservative policies that The Heritage Foundation has developed over the years are the solutions to the problems that we face as a nation,”
Speculation immediately turned to who Governor Nikki Haley would choose to replace him. His successor will be named by the Governor – the special election to replace him won’t be until 2014, when SC will elect not one but two US Senators. The top name being mentioned is Rep. Tim Scott, who would become the first black GOP Senator in decades. There are a long list of reasons why he is at the top of the list. Other names already being bandied about include Reps Mick Mulvaney, Joe Wilson, and Jeff Duncan, state Senator Tom Davis, former Ambassador David Wilkins and former Attorney General Henry McMaster.
The Washington Post outlines why they think it’s a balancing act for Nikki Haley:
On the plus side:
On the cusp of her own re-election bid in 2014, Haley gets to make a pick that will have lasting consequences on how the state is represented in Washington. If you think that choice will be made separately from Haley’s own political needs, you haven’t spent much time watching how politics is played.
On the down side:
As we noted above, Haley will be able to make a pick that solidifies a group (or groups) for her own re-election race. But almost no matter who she picks, there will be some within the party who feel as though she slighted their preferred candidate — particularly in a state with as fractious a Republican party as South Carolina. Haley must tread very carefully — not only in her final pick but in the public and private deliberations that get her to that final pick.
Then again, she COULD appoint herself – that could be interesting…..