CHICAGO (AP) -- Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is making his departure from Congress official by resigning his seat as of 10:59 Central Time.
The Illinois Republican bade farewell to his colleagues on Capitol Hill earlier this month but wouldn't say exactly when he would resign.
Hastert says in a resignation letter to Governor Rod Blagojevich that he chose today so a special primary election to pick people to run for his seat could be held February Fifth. That's the day Illinoisans go to the polls in regular primary elections to cast early votes for president and other offices.
Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff says the governor has five days to set a primary election date.
Once Hastert's seat is vacant, it needs to be filled by a special election within about four months.