Republican Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint announced Wednesday he will step down, effective Dec. 31. He will take over as president of the heritage Foundation. DeMint has represented South Carolina in congress since 2004. His term was not set to expire until 2016.

Sen. John Cornyn issued this statement, Wednesday.

“Throughout his career Jim has been a tireless warrior for conservative principles and a passionate advocate for limited government in Congress and across America. I congratulate Jim and look forward to continuing to work with him as we fight for the causes and beliefs that we as conservatives hold dear.”

Sen.-elect Ted Cruz also issued a statement congratulating DeMint. He said:

"Jim DeMint is a friend, and hero, and a patriot. In the modern era, no other person has had a greater impact reshaping the U.S. Senate, helping bring Republicans back to our conservative roots. Sen. DeMint’s move to Heritage is a sign of the conservative movement’s strength and confirms that Heritage will remain an intellectual powerhouse for decades to come."

Gov. Rick Perry also weighed in on DeMint’s announcement, calling it loss for the Senate, but a win for the Heritage Foundation. In an email statement, he said:

Although the Senate will be losing a principled, effective advocate for freedom, his forthcoming role at Heritage will strengthen conservative influence across our country. He will be a powerful voice on behalf of all who care about our nation, limited government and traditional values, and will empower even more Americans to fight for those causes, preserving the intent that our founding fathers had for this great country.”