Rep. David Wu notified Oregon’s governor and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday evening that his resignation would be effective at 11:59 that night.
“Serving as a U.S. Congressman has been the greatest honor of my life. There is no other job where you get up each day and ask, ‘How can I try to make the world a better place today?’” the Oregon Democrat said in a statement after informing the governor and Speaker.
Wu concluded, “However great the honor and engaging the work, there comes a time to hand on the privilege of elected office — and that time has come.”
Wu announced last week that he would resign following the conclusion of the debt ceiling crisis. He faced increasing pressure to leave the House after allegations of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with an 18-year-old woman surfaced in a July 22 Oregonian newspaper report.
His letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) makes his resignation official.
Kitzhaber said last week that he would schedule the special election to replace Wu to occur more than 80 days after he receives the resignation letter, which is sufficient time for primaries to be held under state law. That would mean the primaries would be held in mid-October at the soonest.
Candidates are already moving into position in the traditionally Democratic 1st district. State Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D) is expected to run, and state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) and state Rep. Brad Witt (D) were already challenging Wu before the events of the past two weeks.
Rob Cornilles, Wu’s Republican challenger last year, will formally announce Thursday that he is running in the special election.
Wu's resignation brings the number of House vacancies to three. Special elections are scheduled for Sept. 13 to fill the seats of former Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is now a Senator.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.