Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) submitted his official resignation letter on Wednesday to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. Wu is the fourth member of Congress to resign this year because of a sex scandal.
Wu’s handwritten letter was sent shortly before midnight Eastern time and was effective immediately. The letter allowed the governor to set a primary election date of Nov. 8, with the general election to be held on Jan. 31 of next year.
Wu, 56, had previously announced his intention to resign after allegations surfaced that the Democratic congressman had an unwanted sexual encounter with an 18-year-old woman who was the daughter of a friend and political supporter. The young woman has not pursued criminal charges thus far.
“Serving as a United States Congressman has been the greatest honor or my life,” Wu wrote in his letter. “There is no other job where you get up every day and ask, ‘How can I try to make the world a better place today.’ However great the honor and engaging the work, there comes a time to hand on the privilege of office. That time has come.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was notified of Wu’s actions. However, the resignation is only effective when received by the governor’s office.
Trent Lutz, executive director of the Oregon Democratic Party, expressed relief in Wu’s resignation. “We’re definitely glad we can move forward and worry about making sure we have a strong representative for the first Congressional District,” Lutz told The Oregonian.
Wu had been under pressure to step down since the allegations were revealed last month. The embattled congressman said he wanted to remain in office until the debt ceiling issue was resolved. Wu voted in favor of the final bill on Monday before ending his 13-year congressional career.
Democrat challengers had begun lining up to run against Wu weeks before the sexual scandal came to light. Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt were previously announced candidates and Democratic state Sen. Suzann Bonamici of Beaverton is expected to announce her candidacy soon.
Republican businessman Rob Cornilles, who lost to Wu in 2010, has scheduled a news conference on Thursday to announce his intentions.