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Jan Schakowsky Not Running For Senate, Staying In Congress

First Posted: 07/09/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:25 PM ET

Schakowsky

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Jan Schakowsky said Monday that she has decided to seek re-election to her U.S. House seat, passing up a bid for the U.S. Senate and a potentially crowded Illinois Democratic primary.

Schakowsky, who has served in the House since 1999, conducted polling and sounded out potential staff about running for the seat currently held by embattled Sen. Roland Burris, under scrutiny for the circumstances of his appointment by now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

But she told supporters in an announcement on You-Tube that she did not want to invest the significant time for fundraising and campaigning that such a bid would require.

"I feel confident I that could raise the $10 million needed for a primary race - and the $16 plus million needed for a general election campaign, but to do it I would have become a telemarketer five to six hours each day," she said in her video announcement.

She added that, "next two years present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make progressive change," but she couldn't do that if she campaigned for the Senate.

Schakowsky, 65, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she serves as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. She has routinely won her Evanston-based district with more than 70 percent of the vote.

If she had run, Schakowsky likely would have faced a number of questions, including how her voting record appealed to down state voters and about her husband's 2005 guilty plea for $2.3 million in bank fraud and a federal tax violation.

Her decision offers some clarity in the race for the Senate seat held by Burris.

Republicans have yet to offer a candidate, but U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk is mulling a run. National Republicans say they are optimistic he could make the race competitive.

Among Democrats, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has formed an exploratory committee and several other candidates, including state Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Merchandise Mart owner Chris Kennedy have said they are considering entering the race.

Burris also has not ruled out running for a full term after being appointed by Blagojevich in late December to the seat vacated by President Barack Obama, just weeks after Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges that included allegedly scheming to sell the seat.

The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee and a state prosecutor are investigating whether Burris lied under oath when he did not reveal to an Illinois impeachment panel what an FBI tape later confirmed: That he discussed raising money for Blagojevich and his desire for Obama's seat in the same conversation with the governor's brother.

Burris has said he wasn't asked about a conversation with the governor's brother and saw no reason to volunteer the information.

-ASSOCIATED PRESS

Watch Schakowsky's statement explaining her decision:



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Filed by Ben Goldberger  |