Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., announced on Tuesday that he will officially resign from Congress on Aug. 2.
Bonner, who is leaving to take a job at the University of Alabama, initially planned to resign on Aug. 15, according to numerous reports. But Bonner said he decided to resign earlier to ensure that a new member of Congress is in place for the start of the second session of the 113th Congress.
"Earlier today, I notified House Speaker John Boehner of my intent to leave Congress at 11:59PM on August 2, 2013," Bonner wrote in a news release. "It was always my intent for this seat to be vacant as little time as possible; therefore, I am moving up my original resignation date to ensure that a new representative can be elected and seated in time for the Second Session of the 113th Congress in January 2014."
Bonner's exit from this seat has already sparked a crowded GOP primary, with eight Republican candidates announcing their intentions to run for the seat.
Those candidates include former state Sen. Bradley Byrne, who ran a failed gubernatorial bid in 2010, Quin Hillyer, a newspaper columnist who has received the support of former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and state Rep. Chad Fincher, among others.
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,” Emily Thompson, Alabama’s deputy secretary of state, said in May when Bonner announced that he would be resigning his seat.