Trent Lott, the Senate's second-highest-ranking Republican, is resigning before the end of the year, the AP has learned. He will announce the decision later today in his home state of Mississippi. The reason for the resignation is unknown. There is nothing wrong with Lott’s health, a congressional official confirmed, saying the Republican whip had unspecified “other opportunities” to pursue.
Lott was re-elected just last year and given the whip post, completing a comeback from his ignominious ouster as majority leader five years ago over racially insensitive remarks. Mississippi’s GOP governor, Haley Barbour, will appoint an interim successor to Lott, until the 2008 elections, when voters will decide who serves the balance of the term. Lott is the sixth Republican Senator to retire this year.