From NBC's Mark Murray
Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., is announcing he's resigning from Congress to work on K Street, becoming the latest House Republican to either vacate his seat or decide not to seek re-election in 2008.
This news -- reported by the Cook Political Report and shared with First Read -- comes after word that former Speaker Dennis Hastert and Rep. Deborah Pryce will not seek another term in office.
Pickering was seen as the heir apparent to the next GOP Senate opening in Mississippi. Does this mean that Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has hinted to Pickering that he'll be seeking re-election?
*** UPDATE *** The Cook team is getting conflicting signals over whether Pickering is resigning or whether he won't be seeking another term (however, with Pickering heading to work on K Street, he might want to leave Congress before the lobbying/ethics reform legislation is signed into law). But one thing is clear: Another GOP-held House seat is being vacated.