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.