After his brother told the Chicago Tribune that Jesse Jackson Jr. would announce his departure from Congress, the Illinois Democrat, who has been beset with health issues, formally submitted his resignation letter today. According to ABC News:
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., the embattled Illinois congressman who has been on medical leave from Capitol Hill for months undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder, resigned from Congress Wednesday. Aides to House Speaker John Boehner said they have received a letter of resignation from Jackson Jr.
The news was first reported by ABC’s Chicago affiliate WLS and two Chicago newspapers.
Jackson has faced a slew of problems in recent months, most recently a probe by federal investigators into his finances. The federal probe was trying to get to the bottom of “suspicious activity” connected to Jackson’s House seat and potentially inappropriate expenditures.
His decision puts the congressional seat up for grabs. According to the Washington Post:
His resignation means he will not be sworn in for the term he won in November. Despite not having actively campaigned for it, Jackson comes from a safe Democratic district and was easily reelected.
The resignation will trigger a special election, which will be declared by Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and must occur within 115 days of the vacancy.
Among the names being mentioned as replacements are Jackson’s wife, Chicago Alderwoman Sandi Jackson (D), Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly (D), state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D) and state Sen. Napoleon Harris (D), a former football player at Northwestern University and in the NFL.
Also being mentioned is former congressman Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.), who resigned the seat that Jackson won in a 1995 special election and was convicted on charges of child pornography and sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old campaign worker.