Former Speaker To Leave Congress

Thursday, October 18th 2007, 4:27 pm
By: News On 6

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- Aides say former House Speaker Dennis Hastert plans to resign from Congress sooner than expected.

The Illinois Republican announced in August that he would not seek re-election next year, but he had said he would finish his current term, which ends in 15 months.

Republican aides say he now intends to leave later this year or early next. That would trigger a special election in his Chicago-area district. Republicans are hoping to hold the seat ahead of next year's general election, which some are fearing will draw large numbers of Democratic voters unhappy with President Bush and the Iraq war.

Congressman Dennis Hastert has served 21 years in Congress and was the longest-serving Republican speaker in history. He held the post from January 1999 until Democratics took control of the House early this year.