Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, an Obama favorite and the only Republican in the Cabinet, said Tuesday he was planning to leave the administration as soon as a successor is confirmed.
The news was not unexpected. LaHood has always been uncertain about what he wanted to do. He indicated in 2011 that he was leaving at the end of the first term, but then he seemed to hedge.
And earlier this month, when a White House official listed some of the Cabinet members who were staying, LaHood, a former seven-term member of Congress, was not on the list.
LaHood, in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, acknowledged publicly what he had been telling friends privately for some time, saying that he was “conflicted” because he loved his job, “the best job I’ve ever had in public service.” He said he told Obama a week after the election that he thought he needed to move on.
LaHood said he would stay on the job until a successor is confirmed by the Senate. If Obama nominates a successor shortly, that would be a few months.