Senator Roland Burris to Retire, Won't Seek a Full Term
Thursday, July 9, 2009; 6:12 PM
Illinois Sen. Roland Burris (D) will not seek a full term in 2010, according to an informed Democratic strategist, a decision that was all-but-certain given the appointed senator's ties to former governor Rod Blagojevich.
Burris had refused to make any commitment about his future plans until today although his ever-changing story regarding his relationship with the disgraced former governor and his non-existent fundraising during the first three months of the year led savvy strategists to conclude he would not (or could not) run.
The race had passed Burris by with speculation centering on whether or not Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) would run. (She decided against doing so earlier this week.)
With Burris formally out of the race, the Democratic slate is likely to come down to state Treasurer Alexi Giannnoulias and Merchandise Mart CEO Chris Kennedy. Republicans face the possibility of a primary of their own with Rep. Mark Kirk in the race and Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna weighing a bid.
While Burris's retirement has little practical impact on the race -- for the reasons mentioned above -- it does save the White House and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee a potential headache since they would almost certainly not have supported Burris in the primary, a move that could have led some in the African American community to question the party's motives.