Burris Keeps 2010 Guessing Game Alive

Posted May 8, 2009 at 3:47pm

Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) continues to keep people guessing about whether he will mount a campaign to keep his seat in 2010, even as he raises money for such an effort.

Through his political consultants, Burris sent out a campaign letter to supporters on Friday that touts his Senate accomplishments, while gently urging people to contribute to his campaign committee.

The letter notes that Burris has been in office for “more than 100 days— and promotes his support for measures such as the a labor organizing bill, a District of Columbia voting rights measure and a resolution commemorating the role of slave labor in building the Capitol.

“Serving as your Senator is an honor and a privilege that I will not betray,— Burris writes in the letter. “I am enjoying working as your Senator. I look forward to regularly updating you on a variety of activities and my work on your behalf.—

Still, Burris spokesman Jim O’Connor said Friday that the embattled Senator — appointed by since-impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to replace President Barack Obama — has not yet decided whether to run for a full-term in 2010.

Burris raised just $845 in the first quarter of the year.

He appears to have stepped up his fundraising efforts since then, however. He held a fundraiser on April 19, but a spokeswoman for his political consultant said the final tabulation has not been completed on how much he raised.

Blagojevich was ousted from office in part over allegations that he attempted to sell Obama’s seat for political favors and campaign cash.

Burris has acknowledged trying to raise campaign funds for the ex-governor while seeking the appointment to the Senate seat. An Illinois state prosecutor is investigating whether Burris may have committed perjury when he testified about his lack of contact with Blagojevich associates prior to his appointment, and the Senate Ethics Committee has also opened a probe.

Because of those probes, Burris has said his legal debts total more than $100,000 — a figure that some have speculated may be driving his fundraising efforts.

Current Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and several members of the the state’s Congressional delegation have called on Burris to resign. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters that he has privately urged Burris to step down.