President-elect Barack Obama submitted his letter of resignation from the U.S. Senate this afternoon, effective Sunday.
"It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate," Obama 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 United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next president."
The move, first reported by the Chicago Tribune, puts pressure on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to find a replacement for Obama to serve until 2010, the next scheduled federal election, as stated by Illinois law.
Obama’s running mate, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, has yet to resign from his Senate seat, to which he won re-election for a seventh term on the same day he was elected vice president. Slightly more Delaware voters — 257,484 — wanted Biden to serve as Senator than the 255,394 who voted for him and Obama to lead the nation.