US House of Representatives (Democrat): Jesse Jackson Jr (Illinois)
Why this is a big quit:
Jesse Jackson Jr., son of civil right activist and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, was heading for a bright future in politics several years ago. There was an expectation that he would succeed his famous father as a leader in the social causes. Jesse Jackson Jr. held public office for nearly 17 years dedicated to advancing the Democratic party’s social agenda. His family and legacy is synonymous with equal rights and public service. Despite his disappearance in June, and claim of suffering from health issues, he was easily re-elected for his second term in November.
Why it’s not as big as our Top 10:
Even though Jackson Jr. resigned for physical and mental reasons (bipolar disorder), there have been ongoing investigations of his personal conduct. He is accused of misusing campaign donations for home redecorating and a $40,000 Rolex watch for a friend. In his resignation letter to John Boehner, he accepted “responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone” which further elicited speculation of the true reason of his departure.