WASHINGTON--Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), incoming chief of staff for President-elect Barack Obama, will resign his seat on Jan. 2, days before the start of the new Congress. The race to replace him is attracting a large field of contenders, with 11 people having already filed statements of candidacies with the Federal Election Commission.
Emanuel, in Africa on a long planned vacation with his family, sent out the official news of his departure from the 5th congressional district seat in a robo call to his constitutients on Monday and a resignation letter to Gov. Blagojevich. Though the seat will be vacant with the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 6, House rules allow the congressional offices in Chicago and Washington to remain open and staffed to assist any ongoing casework. A special election will be held to fill the seat, with the date to be set now that Emanuel's departure date will be established. Emanuel must decide what to do with the $1,782,189 million in his campaign warchest, of which about $400,000 is a loan he made to his campaign.
" I also want you to know, it has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your Representative for the last six years. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for your confidence," Emanuel said in his taped call.
Eleven people have already filed papers with the Federal Election Commission declaring they are possible candidates:
Alexander Victor Forys
Mike Quigley, Cook County Board Member
Charles J. Wheelan
Sara Feigenholtz, State Representative
Justin Oberman, former Transportation Safety Administration official
Cary Capparelli, son of former State Representative
Debra Mell, incoming State Representative, daughter of Ald. Dick Mell who is not going to pursue the seat
Jan H. Donatelli
CHICAGO, IL -Today U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) released the following text of an automated call to the constituents of the 5th Congressional District. Emanuel will officially resign his Congressional seat on Friday January 2, 2009. The text of his resignation letter is attached.
"This is Congressman Rahm Emanuel. As you may have heard, President-elect Obama has asked me to be his new Chief of Staff and I have accepted this offer. Therefore, in the near future, I will be resigning from Congress. I wanted to let you to know that, in the interim, both the Washington, DC and Chicago offices will be open and staff will be available to assist you with any casework issues. If you have any questions or concerns about pending legislation or need help in dealing with Federal government agencies, please do not hesitate to call the office at 773-267-5926. I also want you to know, it has been a privilege and an honor to serve as your Representative for the last six years. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for your confidence. This is Rahm Emanuel."