U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela will resign early from Congress

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, attends a roundtable discussion about unaccompanied minor shelters in Brownsville on June 18, 2018. (Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare, Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare)

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela confirmed Thursday he will resign from Congress in the coming weeks, a decision that comes after he announced last year he would retire from the House.

The South Texas Democrat will leave before the end of his term to work for Akin Gump, a prominent law and lobbying firm.

The Washington-based publication Punchbowl first reported the news Thursday morning, and the Brownsville Democrat confirmed it to The Texas Tribune.

That development will set off a unique special election to replace him. His 34th District is based in Brownsville.

His close friend, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, announced last year after redistricting that he would run for Vela’s seat in the wake of Texas redistricting. He currently represents the neighboring 15th District based in McAllen.

Correction, March 24, 2022: A previous version of this story stated that Politico first reported Filemon Vela's resignation. It was the Washington-based outlet Punchbowl.