South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint will give up his Senate seat in the beginning of January to lead the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., the senator announced on Thursday.

DeMint, a well-known conservative who was re-elected to a second term in 2010, will replace Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner, who has led the organization since its founding 36 years ago.

From DeMint’s statement released Thursday morning:

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. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.

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