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Pressure on Burris Could Lead to Special Election



Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, appointed by disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich, is facing increasued pressure to resign.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's blunt warning to Sen. Roland Burris that he should resign amid revelations that he did not tell the whole truth about his contacts with associates of former governor Rod Blagojevich ramps up the pressure on other lawmakers to follow Quinn's lead, and drastically increases the chances of a special election being held to fill the seat.

In a press conference this morning Quinn, who stepped into the job following Blagojevich's impeachment over allegations that he sought to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama, insisted that Burris must "act as quickly as possible for the best interests of Illinois" and resign. "This should not be a matter that takes weeks."

Quinn also called on the state legislature to pass legislation that would allow a special election to be held to fill the vacancy; currently the governor has the sole power to appoint a replacement.

While Burris has insisted he would not leave office, Quinn's announcement could well set off an avalanche of elected officials calling on the appointed senator to step down. The Senate Ethics Committee has already opened an investigation into whether or not Burris was truthful in his testimony before an Illinois state House panel regarding his contacts with associates of Blagojevich.

Burris initially said he had only talked with one associate of the governor -- Lon Monk -- but has subsequently acknowledged that he spoke on several occasions with Blagojevich's brother and even tried to organize a fundraiser to benefit the embattled governor.

Those inconsistencies coupled with statements of concern from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) had already badly imperiled Burris's political future. Quinn's statement today may well be the tipping point.

So, if Burris does step down what might the special election field look like?

The Republican field is clear: Rep. Mark Kirk (R) is clearly the strongest candidate and would likely enjoy the support of state and national Republicans believing that only by uniting behind a single candidate could they hope to win in this Democratic-leaning state.

The Democratic side is FAR more complicated. Here's the Fix's early handicapping:

Lisa Madigan: The current state Attorney General, Madigan is the straw that stirs the drink (to quote Reggie Jackson) when looking at a special election. Madigan is clearly more interested in being governor than serving in the Senate but Quinn is extremely popular right now (as almost any politician who followed Blagojevich into office would be) and might be tough to beat in a 2010 Democratic primary. With the gubernatorial window seemingly shrinking, Madigan may decide that the Senate -- especially an abbreviated special election race -- is the right next move for her. If she runs, she is the clear favorite thanks to her statewide name identification and the power of her (and her father's) political machine.

Jan Schakowsky: Just 24 hours ago the Chicago-area congresswoman called for Quinn to unseat Burris and set a special election. That's a pretty quick turnaround, no? Schakowsky is clearly the candidate who benefits the most from a special election rather than a gubernatorial appointment as she is a proven fundraiser with strong ties to labor. But, if Madigan is in, it's hard to see Schakowsky not being overshadowed.

Alexi Giannoulias: Giannoulias had made clear that if Burris ran for a full term in 2010 he would challenge the incumbent in a primary. If Burris steps aside, Giannoulias is unlikely to get a clear field, which may well impact his decision. He is well liked by political insiders close to both Obama and Durbin -- a fact that could help in what would be a major insiders' struggle if and when a special election is announced. Giannoulias is just 32 years old, however, and may decide to bide his time if the likes of Madigan jump in.

Dan Hynes: Hynes, the state comptroller, beat Quinn by a day in his call for Burris to resign -- sending a letter to newspapers insisting the appointed senator was a "distraction" and should step aside. Hynes has already run for the Senate once -- coming in a distant second to Obama in the 2004 Democratic primary. Hynes has made no secret of his desire to move up the political ladder and his strong organizational ties in Cook County (Chicago) could make him formidable.

Danny Davis: Davis is the lone African-American candidate seriously mentioned given Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s ties to the Blagojevich investigation. Davis initially expressed interest in a special election candidacy but was an early supporter of the Burris pick and seemed to shelve his ambitions for statewide office. Will that ambition bubble back up?

Who did we miss? The comments section awaits.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 20, 2009; 1:20 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

This all surreal.

With all the Senate has to do, now Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is “piling on” along with the Chicago Tribune writers and newly appointed Governor Quinn suggesting that Senator Roland Burris should just pack up and go home.

Hello: Earth ---- to the Durbin/Quinn/Tribune writers gang --- it ain’t going to happen. So get over it.

Senator Burris has done nothing wrong. He forgot to mention (because it wasn’t important and didn’t apply) that he was asked to conduct a fund raiser for former Governor Blagojevich that was unsuccessful —- that means that NO money was raised, and that this failed fund raiser attempt took place BEFORE any talk between former Governor Blagojevich and now Senator Burris of a possible Senatorial appointment. There was no quid pro quo. So what’s the problem? There is none. The FBI has also said Senator Burris is not under any investigation on any matter.

The problem is that Governor Quinn and the Tribune writers clearly have too much time on their hands, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to destroy other people’s lives, while they obviously enjoy beating up some more on Governor Blagojevich, and now Senator Dick Durbin wants to pile on.

This is disgraceful and what makes it worse — we taxpayers are paying their salary while they are doing all this. You can’t make this up.

Is this the way the US Senate is going to conduct itself the next four years? I hope not. They are not off to a great start.

Hello Senator Reid. How about you stepping in here with a some adult supervision?


Posted by: CommonSense12 | February 25, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

President Barack Obama invited the (R) Minority Leaders to the White House Monday afternoon for a discussion. Present were Mr. Lindsey Graham, Mr. Eric Cantor, Mr. John McCain and the rest of the minority leaders who were somebody.

Mr. President Barack Obama, addressed his first question to John McCain. Mr. McCain in turn, pointed out to the President that the Helicopter that the President uses cost equal to Air Force One.
_________________________________________

President Barack Obama, to Mr. McCain quote...
"You know, he and I had very good debates about these issue's,"Obama said- an understatement to be sure and one that drew laughter. He also praised the Arizona senator as "extraordinary consistant and sincere about these issue's.

McCain, quote....
"Well, thank you, Mr. President," McCain said and quickly delved into the issue of cost overuns on large government buys. "Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One."

President Barack Obama, reminded Mr. McCain, quote...
"The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me," Obama said wryly, inciting more laughter. "Of course, I've never had a helicopter before. So, you know, maybe I've been deprived and didn't know it."
______________________________________
RICHARD PRYOR....EAT YOUR HEART OUT!

NO...RICHARD PRYOR LAUGHING HIS BUTTE OFF!


Posted by: opp88 | February 24, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor's wife's Job/Bank a "Manager of Bank"...her banking firm applied and accepted over $256 million dollars of Stimulus money.

SHAME ON YOU ERIC CANTOR....THOSE DARN REPUBLICANS!
______________________________________

I'm still selling tickets to that meeting that president Barack Obama had with your (R)Minority Leaders yesterday in the White House.

It was funny see'n President Obama feeding these ladies/gents some GERBER cookies. The funniest was Eric Cantor who didn't know what to do with himself.

Obama knew, that Cantor knew, that Obama knew, that Cantors wife, JOB/Bank "Manager of a Bank" took some Stimulus money.

fuuuuuuuuuunny!

Posted by: opp88 | February 24, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Of course, newly appointed Governor Quinn wants Senator Roland Burris to step down, because Governor Quinn thinks he sees an opportunity to flail away again at former Governor Blagojevich whom Governor Quinn would love to beat up on some more.

The only problem is that new Governor Quinn was inadequately briefed, because there is nothing there.

Governor Quinn of Illinois and some Chicago Tribune writers want us to listen to their rants because Senator Burris forgot to mention he was asked to conduct a fund raiser for former Governor Blagojevich that was unsuccessful —- and we the rest of the country should be concerned about that.

And, this failed fund raiser attempt took place BEFORE any talk with Roland Burris of a possible Senatorial appointment. There was no quid pro quo. So what’s the problem? There is none.

The problem is that Governor Quinn and the Tribune writers clearly have too much time on their hands, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to destroy other peoples lives — and what makes it worse — someone is paying their salary while they are doing all this.

— CommonSense12

Posted by: CommonSense12 | February 24, 2009 5:02 AM | Report abuse

How exactly are Obama and Emanuel any better than Burris?

Although he now treats Blago like a leper, Obama basically planned his 2004 gubernatorial victory with Emanuel, and campaigned enthusiastically... even though David Axelrod declined to join the effort, citing "concerns" about how Blago operated.

Obama later bought that nice, big house with financial help from his longtime political patron, slumlord/felon Tony Rezko... and real estate agent Patti Blagojevich. This was only admitted by Obama when the Chicago Sun Times ran an expose on it. Interestingly, Hot Rod's wife was the agent on many of Rezko's real estate transactions that appear to be pay-to-play political payoffs.

And Blago's staff were obviously talking to someone from Team Obama, as on the FBI tapes they said Obama could provide seats on corporate boards for Patti Blagojevich if Jarrett was appointed to the Senate seat... and that Obama had to "suck it up" for a couple years. Does that mean to he had to temporarily refrain from illegal activities? That's sure what it sounds like.

And Obama said he never talked to Blago about the senate seat, and has even implied he had no input on who should take his seat for the balance of his term... when 3 news outlets and David Axelrod stated that he met with Blago the day after the election, Nov 5th... and specifically to discuss who would get his seat. Who would possibly believe Obama's far-fetched story?

The whole thing stinks like trash-truck juice. Barack Obama has more explaining to do than Senator Burris- if the press would just stop kissing his posterior for a minute.

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/2008/12/illinois-institute-of-kleptocracy.html

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | February 23, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

ENOUGH ALREADY with this Washington nonsense and "hot air".

Senator Roland Burris should just keep on keeping on as the junior Senator from Illinois, which he is. He will do fine.

We have enough critical problems in this country to worry about, and that includes the many fine citizens in the State of Illinois. They, and the rest of the country don't need to take the time to watch the theatrics of new current Governor Pat Quinn, and writers of the Chicago Tribune, as they both see an opportunity to "pile on", and beat up again on the former Governor Blagojevich.

My message to both new Governor Quinn and Tribune writers: Find something to do; but right now ---- you are talking to yourselves.

Our economy is "tanking", people are losing their jobs, thousands upon thousands are being laid off, families are losing their homes, stimulus money by the billions are going out to companies who then turn around and give some of that to key executives in bonuses -- while thousands upon thousands have no health insurance, and now newly appointed (by about two months) Governor Quinn of Illinois and some Chicago Tribune writers want us to listen to their rants because Senator Burris forgot to mention he was asked to conduct a fund raiser for former Governor Blagojevich, and was unsuccessful ---- and we the rest of the country should be concerned about that. And as I further understand, this was before any talk of a possible Senatorial appointment. I think Governor Quinn and the Tribune writers have been reading too many political novels, because they probably have nothing else to do.

Continuing, all the rest of country that I know of, is either looking for a job, or glad we have one to go to tomorrow.

It's over everybody. Let's all go back to work.

Thank you.

Posted by: CommonSense12 | February 22, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh My ! Ask a black senator to step down ? There must be RACISM involved here..We can expect the race card to be played at some point. We must appoint another black candidate despite qualifications and past associations. After all we must be politically correct...

Posted by: Larry19611961 | February 22, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"That, coupled with Kirk's fundraising, campaigning skills, and position as a moderate from a D-leaning district are going to make this his race to lose which may keep the likes of Madigan and Schakowsky out."

If there was a real confluence of factors, Kirk might win, but against Madigan? No way. If she gets in, she'll cruise.

Posted by: SeanC1 | February 21, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

The only way Mark Kirk could have some slim chance of winning or the Republicans if by some MIRACLE they become friends with OPRAH!!!!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 21, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Mark Kirk won't Win. Crazy Burris won't resign. Democrats will have to force him out then Gov Pat Quinn will appoint another Democrat to fill the seat. Republicans in Illinois are a joke, they will need to appeal to everyone not their own party members here. Illinois has a huge minority population and is Very moderate. Gov Quinn will appoint another Democrat in the end, which will be in their best interest of Democrats, it will also hold to the seat in the future. Harry Reid will probably have Burris sign something that he will not run in 2010. Burris will agree and a Demorat will continue to hold on to this seat. Again the Republican party in Illinois is a Joke!!!ha ha

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 21, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Any Congresscritters running would not have to resign their safe house seats for a special election. Kirk would have no reason NOT to run.

Posted by: colincampbell | February 21, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

I can just see it, Obama campaigning in his home state for whomever the democrats choose against the hapless Kirk. Why would any republican congress man/women give up a safe house seat to campaign against the president in his home state? Ridiculous. The governor should do his duty and appoint a replacement if Burris resigns.You can't keep changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Posted by: Opa2 | February 21, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

As a constituent from Kirk's district, I'd be very proud if he represented me in the Senate. He has done so much for Illinois's 10th and with his foreign policy resume, I can imagine him being a wonderful Senator. Go Kirk!

Posted by: meepster | February 21, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

"Just think, if we got rid of all the corrupt Libs in congress, the majority would instantly flip back to the good guys, the economy would rebound, taxes would go down, spending would reduce, all would be RIGHT again in the world."

Turning the clocks back to the glory days of 2006....

"While IL has moved somewhat toward D's over the past 6 years since Gov. Ryan's indictment..."

Somewhat?? Some numbers:

- As of a late January R2K Survey, BURRIS was beating Kirk by 7, Schakowski was beating Kirk by 6, Giannoulis was beating Kirk by 8.

- Dems have won every Pres election in the state since 1992.

- Peter Fitzgerald is the only Republican Illinois has elected to the Senate since 1979. He won 1 term, largely because Carol Moseley Braun was his opponent.

- Dems had (in 2006, pre the 2008 Obama registration surge) a 37 - 25 voter registration advantage.

Seriously, after a month of Republicans priding themselves and slapping themselves on the back for their obstructionism, is Obama's home state seriously going to elect someone who will toe the Republican line against him? Get real.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | February 20, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

GOP loses in 2010.

Obama is very popular; his home state won't send someone to block his programs.

Posted by: gbooksdc | February 20, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

What else can be said? He has no shame after all this and quickly losing any respect and dignity he once had.

So will Reid if he allows himself to yet again be manipulated by cries of racism where there was none.

Posted by: sandnsmith | February 20, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

How about Mayor Daley?

Posted by: SWadvocate | February 20, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

While IL has moved somewhat toward D's over the past 6 years since Gov. Ryan's indictment, it is highly likely that R's will see some resurgence given the depth of issues on the Democratic side.

That, coupled with Kirk's fundraising, campaigning skills, and position as a moderate from a D-leaning district are going to make this his race to lose which may keep the likes of Madigan and Schakowsky out.

Kirk is already running TV advertisments but would arguably be better off waiting until 2010 for this election if for no other reason than it distances him further in time from the Bush era. That said, Seals put a lot of effort trying to paint him as a Bush acolyte and none of it stuck.

This race is Kirk's to lose. Watch the fundraising numbers this quarter and you'll see how far ahead he'll be. Its going to be very difficult for a Democratic to beat this guy.

Posted by: jdeblasio | February 20, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The majority back to the repukes? Spending would be reduced? The world would be RIGHT again?

Zoukie, you'd be funny if you weren't so pathetic!

Posted by: jasperanselm | February 20, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Schakowsky's husband had some tax problems and spent a few months in jail a few years ago. Given all the nonsense that has been going on in IL, do the Dems really want to field a candidate who is not squeaky clean?

Posted by: JasonT910 | February 20, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I didn't like the way the whole Burris thing went down. The guy should have never taken the appointment by then Gov. Blago, but he was only too happy to do whatever he could to get back into the political game. The Senate should have stood their ground, and refused to seat him.

Posted by: biggirl90 | February 20, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Lets dump Rangel, Reid and Dodd as well

Posted by: nowanna1 | February 20, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

i haven't been following this hook, line & sinker. but if Mr. Burris "skirted the truth" and it can be proven.
well..........i guess this is an instance where we will listen to the "noise of democracy".


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 20, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Also, Schako is very close to Governor Quinn and would be favored to replace Burris if there were to be no racial pressures this time around.

Posted by: colincampbell | February 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: colincampbell | February 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Just think, if we got rid of all the corrupt Libs in congress, the majority would instantly flip back to the good guys, the economy would rebound, taxes would go down, spending would reduce, all would be RIGHT again in the world.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Senate Majority Leader Reid should end this Burris distraction by stating that he will call for Burris' immediate censure unless Burris wakes up, smells the coffee, and resigns immediately.

***


DOMESTIC TORTURE VIA RADIATION WEAPONRY and Related Government "Programs of Personal Economic Destruction"...

Who will stop America's "Silent Holocaust"?


IT IS DAY 32 OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

DO YOU R*E*A*L*L*Y KNOW WHAT YOUR SECURITY MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATION CENTER IS UP TO?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted/disabled):

http://www.NowPublic.com/scrivener


Posted by: scrivener50 | February 20, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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