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December 29, 2008

Emanuel resigning from House Friday

Incoming Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has made contact with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich – to inform him that he will be stepping down from his House seat this week.

As my colleague John Bresnahan reports, Emanuel will be resigning from the House on Friday, January 2. Emanuel also sent out robo-calls to his constituents informing them of his pending resignation.

Emanuel's previous contacts with Blagojevich's office have been closely scrutinized, in light of the governor's indictment for attempting to sell Obama's Senate seat.

Emanuel was first elected to the House in 2002 after serving as a senior political adviser in the Clinton White House . He chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 where he helped engineer the Democrats’ takeover of the House after over a decade in the minority.

Blagojevich must schedule a special election within 115 days, according to Illinois state law. A special election primary will occur even earlier. In this heavily-Democratic Chicago district, a primary victory is tantamount to winning the election.

His resignation will spark a competitive race to replace him. Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz are two of the leading contenders in a Democratic primary.