Updated at 5:17 p.m.: Bonner has made the announcement official and will resign in August. "I come before you today to announce I will be retiring from Congress on Aug. 15 in order to take a newly-created position of Vice Chancellor for Government Relations and Economic Development at The University of Alabama system," he confirms.
Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) is set to resign from Congress in order to take a job at the University of Alabama system, three people with knowledge of his plans confirm.
Bonner, 53, has served in Congress since 2003.
His sister, Judy Bonner, is currently president of the University of Alabama. There is a vacancy in the job of Vice Chancellor for Government Affairs and Economic Development for the state's entire university system -- a probable landing spot for Bonner.
"It's a done deal, and I'm about 90 percent sure that's the job he's getting," said one Alabama operative. "His sister is the president of UA now, and that job is open after the retirement of their longtime head of government affairs."
Bonner isn't expected to resign immediately, but his a special election is required as long as Congress is in session between his resignation and the next election (which will be the case).
Gov. Robert Bentley (R) has full discretion about when to schedule the special election.
According to the Roll Call Casualty List, Bonner is the first member of the House to announce his resignation or retirement this year. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) announced their resignations shortly after the 2012 election.
Potential GOP candidates for Bonner's seat include state Sen. Bill Hightower, state Sen. Trip Pittman and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne, who lost a runoff to Bentley. The district is strongly Republican, giving Mitt Romney more than 60 percent of the vote in 2012.
The news was first reported by AL.com.
Updated at 3:50 p.m.