Burris Will Bow Out of Senate Race

NBC News confirms he won't run in 2010

Thursday, Jul 9, 2009  |  Updated 5:31 PM CDT
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Mr. Burris Goes to Washington

AP

Sen. Roland Burris will not run for the senate seat he was appointed to by ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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After months of speculation about his political future, U.S. Sen. Roland Burris will not run for the senate seat he was appointed to by ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, NBC News has learned.

An Illinois Democrat close to Sen. Burris tells NBC News that Senator Burris will make the announcement Friday that he is not running for senate in 2010 at 2 p.m. at the South Loop hotel in Chicago.

Sen. Dick Durbin told NBC he spoke with Burris but would not confirm the decision not to run.

"I've talked to Senator Burris and I know that he's going to make a public announcement on Friday about his future. I'll leave it to him to make that announcement, " Durbin said. "I don't want to scoop him in way, shape or form. But he certainly came here under extraordinary circumstances."

Burris has been dogged by controversy throughout his term in the senate seat belonging to President Barack Obama. In addition to his problems regarding the details of his appointment to the seat by ousted former Gov. Blagojevich, Burris has raised just $845 for the 2010 cycle and he has more than $111,000 in debt.

A source told Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times that "after 20 years in government service, Burris didn’t want the last four months in office to be that legacy.”

Durbin said he thinks Democrats should keep the seat if Burris doesn't run but said "it's too early" to say if he has a preference for a candidate.

The news comes one day after a flurry of Illinois political chairs.

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was said to be calling supporters on Wednesday, telling them that he will be running for the United States Senate in 2010.

And Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she'll like to keep her current title and forego the job of U.S. Senator or Illinois Governor.

No official word yet on the plans of Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has announced an exploratory committee, or Christopher Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Stay tuned.

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