Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), one of the most conservative voices in Congress, said this morning that he is leaving in January to take a position as president of Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
DeMint's exit leaves a vacancy on the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, where he was set to succeed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) as ranking member. He was conspicuously absent on Tuesday when the committee held a nominations hearing for four appointees.
"I've decided to join the The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas," DeMint said in a statement.
The change doesn't bode well for The Next Generation TV Act, a bill DeMint co-sponsored with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) that would eliminate all media ownership rules and the Cable Act, which governs retransmission consent.
A proponent of term limits, DeMint said he would not seek a third term. His current term was up in 2016.