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Posted at 1:43 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Bill Burton for Congress?

By Chris Cillizza

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton has been approached by some party insiders about the possibility of running in the likely special election to replace former New York Rep. Chris Lee (R) and is weighing the possibility of a bid, according to several sources familiar with his thinking.

Those close to the situation insist that Burton is far less than a 50-50 shot at running.

"Bill Burton is an extremely talented and dedicated Western New Yorker who understands the challenges and needs of the people in the district," said one senior Democratic official. "If the time was right he'd make a terrific candidate, my sense is that time isn't now."

A native of Buffalo, Burton has rapidly risen through the party's staff ranks. He served as communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 election before signing on with then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2007.

Burton was among those considered to replace Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary but was passed by in favor of Jay Carney who had served as Vice President Biden's communications director.

It remains to be seen how seriously Democrats will contest the special election to replace Lee who resigned from Congress yesterday after a shirtless picture of him -- and a series of flirtatious emails with a woman who was not his wife -- were published by the gossip site Gawker.

The responsibility for calling the special election falls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Once Cuomo decides to call it, the special will have to be staged within 30 days of the announcement.

A number of Republicans are mentioned as potential candidates including state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and state Sen. George Maziarz among others.

The seat is potentially competitive as Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) won it with 52 percent in the 2008 presidential contest.

By Chris Cillizza  | February 10, 2011; 1:43 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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