Obama Will Resign from Senate Sunday
Updated 3:42 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear
President-elect Barack Obama has decided to resign from the U.S. Senate effective Sunday, leaving the Congress a day before it reconvenes to debate a rescue for the auto industry and putting pressure on the Illinois governor to pick a replacement.
In a statement issued Thursday, Obama said: "In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who've taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children's future. It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation's next president."
Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed the timing of Obama's decision, which was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a fellow Democrat, now has to appoint a replacement for Obama. Among the names that have been mentioned are Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who runs the state's Department of Veterans' Affairs; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a former national co-chairman of the campaign; Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.; and Valerie Jarrett, a close friend and adviser of Obama's. Jarrett has since taken her name out of consideration.
There had been some some speculation that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) would want the job, but that became moot after Obama tapped him to be White House chief of staff.
Whoever is appointed to replace Obama would serve until the next federal election in 2010. The governor has 60 days to appoint a successor.
Aides said Obama's Senate staff will spend the next several weeks shutting his office down and archiving his papers for eventual inclusion in his presidential library.
"It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate," Obama said in the statement.
Posted at 3:17 PM ET on Nov 13, 2008
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