Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Political Science experts at USC say the only thing that surprises them about Jim DeMint's decision Thursday is the timing of the annoucement.
U.S. Senator DeMint's decision to resign his seat in Washington may have been a surprise to some in South Carolina, but not to USC political science professor Mark Thompkins.
"Another day in politics, that's what makes it interesting," said Thompkins. "Although the timing of it is a surprise."
Thompkins says there are many factors that DeMint wasn't as successful as he wanted to be in the Senate. One being, the former U.S. Senator only got 61% of the vote against Alvin Greene.
"What he seems to care about the most is his views on the desirability of smaller government. The Heritage Foundation is of course a platform for him to work on those views," said Thompkins.
Charles Bierbauer, Dean of the mass communications department at USC, poses the question, could DeMint have more impact as a lame duck senator or on a conservative platform like the Heritage Foundation.
"That's a major important piece of conservative apparatus there. So he will have a soap box on which to stand and he won't have to share it with 99 other senators," said Bierbauer.
There's not a specific timeline for Governor Haley to appoint a new US Senator. Bierbauer says whomever is appointed will have to run in a special election in 2014, then for re-election in the normal cycle in 2016.
"It's a dynamic process that we need to watch over the next four years to see who is going to be in that particular Senate seat representing the state," said Bierbauer.
Another day in politics in South Carolina that could stretch into the new year before Demint's seat gets filled. No matter who is appointed it will turn out to make an interesting 2014 election.
We'll now have a special election for this senate seat as well as Senator Graham's seat and the governor races on the ballot too.