Burris Eyes 2010

Next race already shaping up

The idea that Roland Burris (D-Blagojevich) would just be a seat-warmer for the next two years has already been blown out of the water. It's not for certain, of course, that Burris will run for re-election, but every indication he has given so far is that he will -- including his statements that he will soon begin raising money.

Syndicated columnist and state political reporter Rich Miller has already made the case for why Burris could win a full-term in 2010; today he points out that national campaign analyst Charlie Cook rates a Burris race a toss-up.

In fact, Burris is just about the best thing that could have happened to Republicans.

"Republicans are eyeing U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat from Illinois for the 2010 election, seeing it as a surprise opportunity to help reverse a string of electoral losses," Reuters reports.

Republican congressman Mark Kirk has already indicated his interest in the race, though he will undoubtedly be urged to consider running for governor. If that serves his ambitions better, he could do that, but Kirk is much more interested in federal issues and would be a strong statewide candidate.

Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizzarates the Burris seat the sixth-most likely to change parties in 2010 and mentions Kirk as a possible challenger.

But as Cillizza also notes, the more interesting question about a Burris run is what might happen in the Democratic primary. As the recent Blago saga showed, there is no shortage of Democrats who desperately want the seat, including Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr., Danny Davis, and Jan Schakowsky -- not to mention possible non-congressional contestants.

Schakowsky is open to challenging Burris in the primary according to this Politico squib, though the comments by her cited are fairly innocuous.

In any case, Burris doesn't have much time to make a mark -- and reverse his reputation as a tainted enabler whose ambition got the best of him.

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