Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat before the end of the year, congressional and White House officials said Monday.Maybe he plans to do his barbershop quartet routine full-time.
Lott, 66, scheduled two news conferences in his home state later in the day to reveal his plans. According to congressional and White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, Lott intends to resign effective the end of the year.
No reason for Lott's resignation was given, but according to a congressional official, there is nothing amiss with Lott's health. The senator has "other opportunities" he plans to pursue, the official said, without elaborating.
Lott's colleagues elected him as the Senate's Republican whip last year, a redemption for the Mississippian after his ouster five years ago as the party's Senate leader over remarks he made at retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party in 2002. Lott had saluted the South Carolina senator with comments later interpreted as support for southern segregationist policies.
UPDATE: More from The Politico
Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is planning on resigning from the Senate this year and may make a formal announcement as soon as today.Naturally, the guttersnipes are already at it.
If he resigns, Lott would become the sixth Republican senator to announce they were stepping down this election cycle. His term expires in 2012; and a resignation would prompt a special election to fill the remainder of his term. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) would be tasked with appointing a replacement for Lott to serve before the special election is held.
In 2006, Lott was re-elected with 64 percent of the vote.
Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), who announced his retirement from the House earlier this year, would be a leading candidate for the Senate seat in the special election. Another possible GOP contender for the seat would be Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
UPDATE II: Glenn Reynolds links. Thanks!
More from Michelle Malkin and Allahpundit.
UPDATE III: Plenty of opinion at Memeorandum.
UPDATE IV: From the Washington Times:
Two odd things here: (a) he's not merely announcing an intent to retire at the end of his current term, but to resign within weeks; and (b) the announcement was leaked from the White House.Hmm.
Thanks also to Cranky at Six Meat Buffet for the link.
UPDATE IV: Lott unites the blogosphere!