Bush administration sources say the White House could announce a replacement for outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft as early as Wednesday.

The White House announced Mr. Ashcroft's resignation late Tuesday. The highly conservative attorney general is the nation's top law enforcement officer. He has also been one of the most polarizing figures in the Bush administration.

Mr. Ashcroft said in his resignation letter he intends to remain in his post until a replacement is confirmed by the Senate. Administration officials have indicated that White House counsel Alberto Gonzales is the leading candidate for Mr. Ashcroft's job. The White House also announced Tuesday the departure of Commerce Secretary Donald Evans. Mr. Evans, a close friend of President Bush, says he is eager to return home to Texas.

Administration sources say his likely replacement is Mercer Reynolds, finance chairman for Mr. Bush's re-election campaign.