Hastert Likely to Step Down Early

Roll Call newspaper reports that former Speaker won't serve out his term
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2007 10:17 AM CDT
Then outgoing Speaker of the House Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Dec. 8, 2006 file photo. Few politicians fall as far and as fast as Hastert,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert may leave office before his term expires in 2008, according to subscription-only RollCall.com. Hastert—who has already announced that he won't seek reelection—is reportedly telling colleagues that he'll leave office later this year, and sources say an official announcement is likely "soon." The move could mean a special election in his Illinois district.

The election could take place along with Illinois' presidential primary on February 5—when strong turnout for Barack Obama might give Republicans more trouble than usual in the conservative district. Three Republicans and one Democrat are already running, but congressional Democrats have significantly more campaign cash than GOP counterparts.