Burris' Allies: He Hasn't Ruled Out 2010
Allies of Roland Burris insist that the embattled Senator has not ruled out running for election in 2010.
Under public and private pressure to vacate the seat, Burris is still keeping his political options open. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bud Jackson, the Senator's former communications guru and current voluntary political adviser, said that the staff had "not made any decision about 2010, either ruling it in or ruling it out."
"Based on past precedent," he added, "the Senator would probably prefer the flexibility to decide at later time."
Separately, Burris' spokesman, Jim O'Connor, told Politico that the Senator "has made no decision yet on the 2010 race. His focus is on serving the people of Illinois."
The statements come as a growing chorus of voices, both locally and nationally, are calling for Burris to resign after it was revealed that he had not been entirely forthcoming about the extent of his contacts with impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich before his appointment. On Tuesday, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, reported that in an upcoming private meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin, Burris would send the message that he would neither resign from office nor seek reelection in the next cycle.
Other Illinois officials, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Gov. Pat Quinn, have called for a special election so as to democratically remove Burris from his seat. Jackson, who on Monday penned a letter that was sympathetic towards Burris but critical of his staff's strategy, said such pronouncements were politically motivated
"We are keenly aware of proclamations made by people who have their own self-interest in possibly running for this seat," he said. "And I would also point out that some members of the media, not all, have not noted that in their write-ups."
As for the Senator's current political troubles, Jackson said that nothing "improper" was done. He added that Burris' handlers had erred in hosting a press conference following the recent revelations, which created an environment "that makes it very challenging to effectively communicate what you're trying to say without being interrupted or peppered with a variety of questions."
"I think internally Burris' people realize that they did a poor job with public relations, but that the Senator has done nothing improper," Jackson added. "That sentiment would lend folks to wonder why the Senator deserves to be punished by being forced into a premature political decision at a time when he is more focused on doing the right thing and clearing up the remaining confusion."