President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday that he will resign from the Senate effective Sunday.
“It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the U.S. Senate,” he said in a statement. “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 U.S. Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President.”
Obama is set to be sworn in as the 44th president of the U.S. on Jan. 20. He beat Sen. John McCain in a landslide victory last week.
Under state law, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich will name Obama’s replacement for the remaining two years of his term. Blagojevich has said he expects to make a decision by year’s end.
Valerie Jarrett, a close friend and adviser to Obama, took herself out of the running to replace him in the Senate. “I am not interested in the Senate seat,” she told the Chicago the Tribune.
Other potential candidates to replace Obama include Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, and Tammy Duckworth, who heads the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs. Iraq war veteran and former congressional candidate Duckworth and Obama appeared together Tuesday to commemorate Veterans Day.
Blagojevich’s appointee would serve until the next national election in 2010.
Obama’s Senate office will remain open for a while so that staffers can archive Senate documents for Obama’s future presidential library and contact constituents, the Associated Press writes. It will close some time within the 60 days after the resignation becomes effective Sunday.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden is also expected to resign his seat representing Delaware before the inauguration. Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will likely appoint the successor.