Burris will not run again, cites fundraising

July 11, 2009 12:20:41 PM PDT
Embattled Illinois Senator Roland Burris announced Friday that he will not seek a full Senate term. Senator Burris said he is bowing out because of the burden to raise campaign funds. However, his appointment to the U.S. Senate by former Governor Rod Blagojevich raised many questions.

On paper the decision looked easy:

  • Roland Burris has no money;
  • no campaign infrastructure;
  • no party support;
  • and very little public support.

    But for a man who still believes he did nothing wrong in accepting impeached Blagojevich's appointment, the announcement had to be tough.

    "My friends, I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election," said Sen. Roland Burris, (D) Illinois.

    After three decades worth of public service in Illinois, Burris has realized he is un-electable.

    "Make no mistake, I love serving in the United States Senate. Make no mistake, I live serving the people of Illinois, make no mistake about that," said Burris.

    The mistake Burris made was in not fully understanding the ramifications of accepting an appointment from a scandal-scarred governor in December 2008. There were hearings in Springfield, headlines across America, and damage to his reputation. All of it conspired against Burris.

    His last filing with the Federal Election Commission revealed he had only raised $845 and his campaign was more than $100,000 in debt.

    "I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds or spending time raising issues for my state," said Sen. Burris.

    "He runs on with integrity and a smile - to quote Michal Jackson - with a smile on his face and I thank God for him," said Rev. Paul Jakes, Burris supporter.

    The senator refused to take reporters' questions Friday, but supporters say he showed courage in accepting the Blagojevich appointment because it ensured an African-American would join the all-white U.S. Senate.

    "Everyone is upset but his core community. But he did what he had to do. And now he is a full United States senator; his voice for public safety ? is just as significant," said Mark Allen, Burris supporter.

    Aides to Sen. Burris say he's accomplished a lot in a short amount of time; His vote meant republicans couldn't filibuster the president's stimulus package.

    Burris, who has not served long enough to receive a federal pension, will remain senator until a new one is elected next year.

    The Washington Post reported North Shore Congressman Mark Kirk will not run for Burris' seat. However, Kirk's team tells ABC7 he is still considering a campaign.


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