Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) credited departing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) with helping elect him to the Senate. DeMint was an early backer of his insurgent primary campaign against Charlie Crist in 2010. From Rubio's office:
“Senator DeMint is one of the main reasons why I’m in the U.S. Senate. When I ran for the U.S. Senate two and a half years ago, no one thought I had a chance to win. Jim DeMint was the first person in Washington that believed in me and invested in me, and I’m eternally grateful.
“Of course, we’re going to be sad that he’s not going to be with us here in the Senate every day, but we’re excited for the new opportunity that he has to lead the limited government, free enterprise movement from outside the Capitol at the Heritage Foundation. We’re just excited about that and look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”