Fattah Resigns Effective Immediately
After facing growing pressure to step down, convicted Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah has announced that he is resigning effective immediately.
Yesterday, Fattah said in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that he planned to quit on Oct. 3rd, one day before his sentencing hearing. But on Thursday, he reversed course in another memo to Ryan.
“In my previous letter, I indicated a later resignation date in order to provide for an orderly transition of my office after 21 years of service in the House,” said Fattah. “However, out of respect for the entire House leadership, and so as not to cause a distraction from the House’s work for the people, I have changed my effective date.”
A jury found Fattah guilty of participating in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bribery, mail fraud, bank fraud, falsification of records and other charges on Tuesday. Ryan said after the conviction that Fattah should resign “immediately,” and House Republicans were reportedly looking to try to expel him by a vote if he refused. Some Democrats, including Gov. Tom Wolf, also called on Fattah to leave the House ASAP. That’s not surprising: A convicted congressman from Philadelphia unwilling to let go of his seat in the midst of the Democratic National Convention is not a good look.
So what will happen to Fattah’s seat now that he’s stepped down? Wolf must call a special election within the next 10 days to fill it, according to gubernatorial spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan. He said the law also stipulates that “an election cannot be held before 60 days from the day the governor sets the date.”
Sheridan said “no final decision regarding a date has been made at this time.”
State Rep. Dwight Evans defeated Fattah in the primary election for the 2nd Congressional District seat in April, and he is all but guaranteed to win in November against Republican James Jones.
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