Hastert, "Dejected" And "Embarrassed," Says He Will Retain Seat For Now
Defying expectations that he would immediately retire if the Republicans lost their majority, outgoing House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is preparing to join the rank-and-file, at least for the short-term.
Hastert will be the first House Speaker to leave the House leadership but remain in Congress since Joseph Martin Jr. (R-MA), who was House Speaker in 1953 and 1954.
Friends say that Hastert is "dejected" and "embarrassed" by the Republicans' loss of House control. That loss is connected in part to the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), a scandal that led various House leaders -- including John Boehner, Thomas Reynolds and Roy Blunt -- to publicly chastise Hastert.
Hastert would like to hand-pick his replacement. At the same time, he is hoping for a favorable response from the House Ethics Committee, which is investigating whether he or his staff acted properly in dealing with warnings about improper conduct toward Congressional pages by Foley.
It is possible that Hastert will lose both battles.