Sources: Burris Won't Seek Full Senate Term The junior Senator from Illinois, Roland Burris, is expected to make an announcement Friday. Sources say Burris, who was appointed by ousted former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has been telling Democrats he will not run for a full term next year. Blagojevich was arrested for trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder for personal gain.
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Sources: Burris Won't Seek Full Senate Term

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Sources: Burris Won't Seek Full Senate Term

Sources: Burris Won't Seek Full Senate Term

Sources: Burris Won't Seek Full Senate Term

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/106457947/106457930" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Few political observers were terribly surprised to hear that Roland Burris will not seek a full term to the Senate.

"I think it was doomed from the beginning," says Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL). He says anyone who would have accepted what he considers to be a tainted appointment from former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, would have faced enormous odds against winning a full term.

Blagojevich named Burris to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat in late December — three weeks after being charged with trying to sell the appointment to the highest bidder for his own personal gain. Blagojevich was later impeached, removed from office and ultimately indicted on a wide range of corruption charges

Burris made the situation worse by changing his story about how he got the appointment, and whether there was any pay to play involved.

Senate leaders would only allow Burris to be seated in the Senate after he testified before an Illinois House investigative committee about his discussions with those in Blagojevich's inner circle.

After being seated, Burris admitted to having many more contacts with Blagojevich's people than he acknowledged in his testimony.

In a phone call, wiretapped by the FBI, Burris promises to "personally do something" in terms of raising money for the governor. The call was between Burris and Robert Blagojevich, the ex-governor's brother and chief fundraiser.

The call ends with Burris saying: "Tell Rod to keep me in mind for that seat, would ya?"

"I'll let him know," answers Blagojevich's brother.

"All of that was damaging and added fuel to the fire," Congressman Davis says. "But I think the blaze was already going."

Some say Burris still believed he could overcome the taint of his appointment and win election to a full term, if he could raise enough money. But sources say Burris has been unable to raise virtually any money for a race that could easily cost up to $12 million for candidates without his baggage.

"I think the major problem was his run in with the Senate leadership, and the Democratic party at the national level; and the fact that Mr. Obama himself had lost faith, in fact, had never really supported him," says Bob Starks, a political scientist at Northeastern Illinois University.

Without Burris seeking a full term, the field to replace him would be wide open.