Opinion: Breaking News: Former Speaker Hastert to resign
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The Roll Call newspaper in Washington reported on its website this evening that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois intends to resign his House seat later this year.
The subscription-only site said Hastert, who had already announced he would not seek reelection in 2008, was calling friends and associates today and telling them of his decision. His early departure would create the need for a special election in his exurban Chicago district, possibly on Illinois’ Feb. 5 presidential primary day.
The 65-year-old former high school teacher and wrestling coach, first elected to the U.S. House in 1986 after six years in the Illinois house, has easily won reelection in the state’s 14th District in recent years, racking up majorities of 74% where George W. Bush won with 54%.
Republicans would be expected to win a general election, but a special election could create special problems for the GOP. With its new congressional majorities, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has built up larger sums of campaign cash than its Republican counterpart.
Three Republicans--Chris Lauzen, Jim Oberweis and Kevin Burns--are already vying for the party’s nomination, while Bill Foster, a wealthy Democrat, appears to lead the waiting Democratic field.
-- Andrew Malcolm