Instead, the powerful lawmaker, who has played the role of kingmaker in past Senate races, tipped his hat at the GOP field, noting he preferred any conservative to President Obama. 

“We’ve got some great conservative leaders in the Republican primary, and they’d all be much better than President Obama,” said DeMint. 

DeMint said he will refocus his attention and political clout on the upper chamber, which Republicans have a shot at recapturing in next year's elections. 

“The Senate is just as critical to the future of our nation, and we need more leaders like Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE who will fight the big spenders in both nations,” he said, referring to two of his Senate allies. 

DeMint’s powerful Senate Conservatives Fund distributed million of dollars to several conservative candidates during the last election, and played a signficant role in the rise of Tea Party politicians in the Senate.