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Obama Leaves Senate

President-elect Barack Obama officially resigned from the Senate on Sunday, announcing the move in a letter published in newspapers across his home state of Illinois, the Associated Press reported.

Obama quoted President Abraham Lincoln in the letter, which also bid farewell to the people of Illinois, asking for their support and prayers. “Today, I am ending one journey to begin another,” Obama wrote.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has formed a panel to vet potential replacements for Obama, a roster that likely includes Illinois Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Jan Schakowsky, state Comptroller Dan Hynes, state Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, former state Senate President Emil Jones, state Sen. Kwame Raoul and marketing consultant Dan Seals, who lost for the second straight time on Election Day to Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

Blagojevich said that the panel would be made up of “diverse senior staff” of his administration, but he declined to name names or indicate when the panel would officially convene.

The governor’s office last week declined to discuss the status of Obama’s replacement.

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