In a surprise move, Senator Trent Lott (MS) will announce his retirement from Congress, expected around Noon, EST today.
Lott won re-election in November 2006, just over a year ago, and was soon voted minority whip. Lott had previously been stripped of his leadership position because of a racially insensitive comment made in 2002.
GOP Leadership was reportedly shocked by Lott's decision-- a decision made just over the Thanksgiving holiday. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will appoint a temporary successor to the seat, expected to be vacated by the close of 2007, and a special election to fill the remaining time of Senator Lott's term will be held in November 2008.
Senator Lott's decision adds to the growing number of Republicans to vacate office. Though this and many other open seats will be targeted highly by the Democratic Party, this is also a clear opportunity to elect more moderate Republicans to office.
For more on Senator Lott's retirement, click here.