Updated 3:57 p.m. | Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., will resign from Congress later this year to take a job at the University of Alabama, CQ Roll Call has confirmed.
Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters about Bonner's imminent departure. Bonner sent a personal note to Shelby a few hours ago explaining the move. He will take on the newly created position of vice chancellor of government relations and economic development.
Asked if "government relations" sounded like Bonner would be lobbying senior appropriator from Alabama, Shelby demurred.
"I wish him well," Shelby said. "You all are good. You all are smart."
Bonner's sister, Judy Bonner, is president of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Bonner is expected to make the announcement at a 5 p.m. news conference in Mobile, Ala.
Alabama election law does not have a time limit for when a special election to fill a congressional vacancy must be called.
"It just says in our Alabama code ... that all special elections should be held on such date as the governor directs," said Emily Thompson, Alabama's deputy secretary of state.
The Mobile Press-Register first reported the news of Bonner's imminent resignation and his future plans.
Alabama political consultants mentioned three potential Republican candidates who are likely to run in the special election to fill Bonner's 1st District seat. They are:
- State Sen. Tripp Pittman
- First-term state Sen. Bill Hightower
- Former state Sen. Bradley Byrne, a lawyer who lost a Republican gubernatorial primary bid in 2010