Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina).
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, a leader of the Tea Party Caucus, announced Wednesday he is stepping down from the U.S. Senate in January to join the Heritage Foundation as its president.
"It's been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it's time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America's future," DeMint said in a statement.
DeMint is an influential conservative with strong ties to the small-government, anti-tax movement.
The Wall Street Journal says DeMint, whose term does not expire until 2016, will manage an $80 million budget at the think tank.