Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a leading Senate conservative and founding member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, will resign from office in January to become president of The Heritage Foundation.

DeMint, who frequently clashed with the Senate Republican leadership during his career over taxes, spending and political tactics, said he will continue to push his conservative vision from outside Congress.

“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,” DeMint said in a statement.

DeMint’s decision to leave the Senate after only eight years shocked Washington. DeMint had been seen as a future Senate leader for his party and was already a leader to a growing number of conservatives in the House and Senate.

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