Reacting to the sudden resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced Thursday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is praising his sometime GOP rival, who is leaving in January to lead a conservative think tank.From McConnell's office: "I thank Senator DeMint for his uncompromising service to South Carolina and our country in the United States Senate. Jim helped provide a powerful voice for conservative ideals in a town where those principles are too often hidden beneath business as usual. There is no question in my mind that he raised the profile of important issues like spending and debt and helped galvanize the American people against a big government agenda. I am confident that he will continue to advocate for conservative principles in the next chapter of his service to the American people."Seen as the Tea Party's favorite senator, DeMint led the fight to ban earmarks and was viewed by many observers as a potential challenger to McConnell's leadership post.The clash never materialized, but conservative activists—namely CNN contributor Erick Erickson—argue that DeMint's move to the Heritage Foundation now makes him stronger than McConnell.From RedState: While my initial reaction was one of sadness that we are losing the clearest voice in the Senate for conservatives, the upside on Jim DeMint’s departure from the Senate is mind boggling. Mitch McConnell likes it when people compare McConnell to Darth Vader, seemingly clueless that Vader lost the Death Star twice to a rag tag group of rebels in really beat up, hand-me-down spaceships. If McConnell smiles at hearing the news Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate, he should remember Obi Wan Kenobi telling him . . . errrr . . . Darth Vader, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Jim DeMint’s power in the conservative movement just grew exponentially. A man who was going to retire in four years anyway, will now be leading the conservative movement from its base of operations for years to come.DeMint has reportedly said he wants Republican Congressman Tim Scott to be appointed to his seat by South Carolina's governor.