From NBC's Savannah Guthrie and Mark Murray
Obama announced that he will resign his Illinois Senate seat, 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," he said, according to a statement from his transition team. "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."
Now the speculation turns to whom Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will appoint to succeed Obama. That appointment will serve until 2010, when Obama's six-year term concludes.
Some of the possibilities include Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr., Jan Schakowsky and Melissa Bean; Tammy Duckworth, the unsuccessful 2006 House candidate who now heads the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs; Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan; and State Comptroller Dan Hynes.