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Gov. Rod Blagojevich To Name Roland Burris To U.S Senate

December 30, 2008

Unbelievable.   More on this story later today.  (Who said politics is boring?)

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected today to name former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they would not seat anyone appointed by the disgraced governor who faces criminal charges of trying to sell the post, sources familiar with the decision said.

Shortly after Obama’s Nov. 4 victory, Burris made known his interest in an appointment to the Senate but was never seriously considered, according to Blagojevich insiders. But in the days following Blagojevich’s arrest, and despite questions over the taint of a Senate appointment, Burris stepped up his efforts to win the governor’s support.

Though he is 71, Burris has said that Obama’s replacement should be able to win re-election and he has noted that despite a string of primary losses in races ranging from Chicago mayor to governor and U.S. senator, he’s never lost to a Republican.

Blagojevich, who has sole authority to name a replacement senator, scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference at his downtown Chicago office.

Blagojevich’s criminal defense attorney Ed Genson had said Blagojevich would not name a Senate successor to Obama. The governor had indicated he agreed with other Illinois politicians that the best option might be a special election to fill Obama’s seat. But state lawmakers have not taken up the necessary legislation.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada previously warned Blagojevich, following the governor’s Dec. 9 arrest, that Senate Democrats would not seat any appointment the two-term Democratic governor made. Reid’s warning was contained in a letter signed by all 50 sitting Democratic senators, including the No. 2 Democrat in Senate leadership, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Federal authorities, citing secret wiretap recordings, allege Blagojevich sought a Cabinet position, an ambassadorship or a high-paying job from the incoming Obama administration in exchange for naming a candidate favored by the president-elect to the vacancy. An internal report by the Obama transition team found no offers of any quid pro quo in conversations held by incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Blagojevich and the governor’s staff regarding the seat.

Burris became the first African-American to win statewide office in 1978, when he won the first of his three terms as comptroller. But Burris repeatedly stalled in his quest for bigger political office. He failed in three consecutive runs for governor–1994, 1998 and 2002, when he ran against Blagojevich–in the Democratic primaries.

Burris, an attorney in private practice, could not be reached for comment at his home today

3 Comments
  1. January 2, 2009 11:51 AM

    I was always taught that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Governor Blagojevich hasn’t even been tried, yet. He has just been accused of certain crimes. Right now, he is just the victim of media hype and a hostile legislature.
    Until he is convicted of a crime and impeached, Rod Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois and his appointments should stand.
    If Roland Burris does a bad job in the senate, his constituients can vote him out of office at the end of his term.

  2. tomjerkweed permalink
    December 30, 2008 2:08 PM

    May as well as named Alan Keyes to the post.

  3. tomjerkweed permalink
    December 30, 2008 1:45 PM

    Some people just don’t get the hint. Even when it is a 2 X 4 on the side of the head.

    No, the only thing I am surprised is that Blago didn’t name one of his family or a buddy from Kindergarten for the post.

    That’s would be the Chicago Way….

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