Jim DeMint's Mixed Senate Legacy (SLIDESHOW)

12/06/2012 04:44 pm ET
  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
  • Amanda Terkel Senior Political Reporter, The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) announced on Thursday he will retire from the Senate and head off to run the Heritage Foundation, the preeminent conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

The South Carolinian leaves quite the legacy, having pushed the type of purity politics that forced Republican members to consistently exhibit their conservative credentials. It also contributed to some of the massive amounts of gridlock in the Senate. Perhaps DeMint's most memorable moment in President Barack Obama's first term was when he declared that the pursuit of comprehensive health care reform could be become the administration's Waterloo.

How much his actions ended up benefiting the Republican Party isn't exactly clear. Health care reform, for example, ended up becoming law. And with respect to demanding purity among his fellow lawmakers, DeMint ended up with both major breakthroughs and notable misfires. While he was instrumental in the election of Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), some of his picks have backfired, handing Democrats victories.

Below is a list of the candidates that his Senate Conservatives Fund political action committee endorsed, as well as a slideshow of candidates whose races were notably shaped by DeMint.

Candidates endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund (data from OpenSecrets.org):

 Tom Coburn

 Oklahoma, Senate, 2010

 Todd Akin

 Missouri, Senate, 2012

 Ted Cruz

 Texas, Senate, 2012

 George Allen

 Virginia, Senate, 2012

 Jeff Flake

 Arizona, Senate, 2012

 Sharron Angle

 Nevada, Senate, 2010

 Deb Fischer

 Nebraska, Senate, 2012

 Dan Bongino

 Maryland, Senate, 2012

 Ron Johnson

 Wisconsin, Senate, 2010

 Ken Buck

 Colorado, Senate, 2010

 Mike Lee

 Utah, Senate, 2012

 Josh Mandel

 Ohio, Senate, 2012

 Rand Paul

 Kentucky, Senate, 2010

 Joe Miller

 Alaska, Senate, 2010

 Marco Rubio

 Florida, Senate, 2010

 Richard Mourdock

 Indiana, Senate, 2012

 Marlin Stutzman

 Indiana, House, 2010

 Christine O'Donnell

 Delaware, Senate, 2010

 Pat Toomey

 Pennsylvania, Senate, 2010

 John Raese

 West Virginia, Senate, 2010

 Dino Rossi

 Washington, Senate, 2010

 Tom Smith

 Pennsylvania, Senate, 2012

 Chuck Devore

 California, Senate, 2010 (lost primary)

 Ovide Lamontagne

 New Hampshire, Senate, 2010 (lost primary)

 Mark Neumann

 Wisconsin, Senate, 2012 (lost primary)

 Don Stenberg

 Nebraska, Senate, 2012 (lost primary)

Also on HuffPost:

Senators Who Can Thank Jim DeMint