Tea party activists hailed DeMint's move to Heritage as a sign that the think tank will play a more prominent role fighting for conservative causes.

"I was shocked, and at first I said, 'Oh no,' but then I said, 'Wait a minute, let's think about this," said Joe Dugan, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party in South Carolina. "The Heritage Foundation is a tremendous organization, and as president of it he will have a broad, broad platform to educate people across the country about
conservative ideas and ideals. And that's what the country needs."