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 Health Care: Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid GOP senator: CBO moving the goalposts on ObamaCare mandate Cornyn: Senate GOP tax plan to be released Thursday MORE and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals Red state lawmakers find blue state piggy bank Prosecutors tell Paul to expect federal charges against attacker: report 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.