January 5th, 2009
02:34 PM ET
6 years ago

Dems consider seating Burris if he promises not to run in 2010

Democrats may consider a compromise if Roland Burris agrees not to run for the Senate seat in 2010.
Democrats may consider a compromise if Roland Burris agrees not to run for the Senate seat in 2010.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has learned that one possible compromise idea being considered by some in the Senate Democratic leadership is allowing Roland Burris to be seated in the Senate as long as he agrees not to run in 2010.

A senior Democratic source familiar with Senate leadership deliberations tells CNN that a Democratic concern about seating Burris is that his association with Rod Blagoveich would make him so tainted that he would lose the Democratic seat if he ran in the next election. This idea would clear the field for other Democratic candidates the leadership considers more viable to run in 2010. The source would not be named because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

Democratic sources cautioned that this is just one idea being discussed and that the Democratic leadership hasn’t formally settled on making this offer to Burris.

The source familiar with the deliberations said one key to this avenue of compromise, and a way around declarations that anyone Blagoveich appoints is tainted, would be to give the Burris appointment political legitimacy by having Illinois Lt Gov Pat Quinn publicly bless it.

When asked about the possibility of agreeing not to run in 2010, Burris told reporters in Chicago: “I can’t negotiate in the press.” (In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer later Monday, Burris appeared to reject the idea.)

Update: The fact that Blagojevich "tainted" the pick is one reason Democrats are resisting the move, according to the Democratic source - another is, regardless of whether or not Burris is viewed as tainted, the 71-year-old former attorney general is not someone party leaders think can win statewide. They're hoping for younger, more appealing candidates they think have a better shot at keeping the seat.


Filed under: Roland Burris
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Connie Striper

    The democrats are all wet here. Blago has not been convicted of any crime and may never be. The dems are trying now to back away from outright denying Burris entry into the Senate chamber. Go, Burris, and protect your American Constitutional rights against those stupid liberal democrats.

    January 5, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Paul, VA

    Reid is a wimp. Kick Burris out and kick Blagoboy in jail. Grow a spine Congress, come on.

    Reid needs to go.

    January 5, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. max (NY)

    @ Stef
    Why can't you people open your stinking mouth without call on Obama's name. You are so pathetic. Go brush your teeth before calling Obama's name so that you don't leave dirts from last year meals on it. Gosh!

    January 5, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Nanochristmas love

    Martin – You "thought this would stop now that Obama is president"... seriously dude, you are one heck of a fool for believing that. Have you not noticed that since Obama became president-elect he has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does NOT represent "Change"?? Do you not see that? Appointing dozens of old Washington standards to his cabinet and administration left and right... yes that's change all right.

    Wake up.

    January 5, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Kathy

    Gotta love the Dems!

    I see the circus in Washington will continue...no matter who is in the oval office.

    January 5, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. bob j

    burris so far is free and clear of scandals the guy is sqeekly clean i say seat him with no condtionsafter all as an amerian he should be able to run for any office checkmate to the il gov

    January 5, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Chicago Red

    the Senate Democratic leadership is allowing Roland Burris to be seated in the Senate as long as he agrees not to run in 2010.
    **They are allowing him to be seated ,because legally they can't block it Reid to do his resarch before opening that puss **

    January 5, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Rob, Ohio

    Wow. So the Democrats want to do the right thing and not seat him...they're holding to their ideals and understand that....oh wait...okay, if we can make a DEAL with him, maybe it's okay.

    The choice either has integrity or it doesn't. How can people feel like bargaining about it makes it okay? And how DARE you Democrats accuse Republicans of lack of integrity when this is so amazingly out in the open????

    January 5, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Joyce

    Hey, H-Rod. Try as you may, this is not a racial issue. The statement was made prior to his appointment that nobody appointed to the senate by Blagojevich would be seated. They did not refer to race in that statement, so nobody, purple, green or plaid would be seated.

    Also, are you aware that one of Burris' stumbling blocks is that the Secretary of State Jesse White is refusing to sign the necessary paper admitting Burris to the senate. Mr. White is black, so explain how that is racially motivated.

    Mr. Burris wants the full lifetime pension that he will receive as senator. This is greed. And as a resident of Illinois I do not want my taxes to be paid for a senator that is not duly elected.

    January 5, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Peace Out!!

    TO–Stef January 5th, 2009 3:15 pm ET
    Sure he'll "agree". Just like Obama "agreed" to use pubic campaign finance money***PE Obama did not sign any agreement RE the use public campaign finance money***

    January 5, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. TCM

    H-Rod, are you kidding me? If this guy was white, the media wouldn't cover it...how about, if Obama wasn't black, he wouldn't be president? He received more courting and favoritism than any politician has ever received. Blag's a criminal...take off the blinders.

    January 5, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Rob

    H-ROD January 5th, 2009 4:12 pm ET – You are right. If Blago's pick had been white, then all of the African-American people who are demanding Burris be seated would be protesting saying that Blago's pick shouldn't be seated, Blago should be impeached, then the new gov could pick (an African-American).

    Question: If a black person who works hard, on his own, and doesn't play the race card is considered an 'Uncle Tom', what do you call a black person who accepts an appointment from a corrupt, dishonest politician and then throws race into the mix when people don't want him seated? Well, I mean what do you call them besides an Illinois Democrat?

    January 5, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. magella

    What a dumb idea. Let him be seated and prove himself. If we want even a remote chance of him playing a useful role in the Senate, why take the incentive to try hard and perform well away from him?

    January 5, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Rick

    The democrats are going to have to make a deal on this one or Blago will blow the whistle on some of The Great Obama's dirty laundry.

    January 5, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Mary T

    Burris as interim until 2010...that has been my hope since Blagojevich named him. For all of you "but he wasn't elected" people out there...governor appointments to mid-term openings ARE THE LAW. Also, speaking as an Illinois resident, if we held a special election, none of the likely candidates is a clear choice at this point. We could have six candidates, none with a majority of the vote. You'd have to take someone who won with 30-40%, or you'd have to have a run-off election. All of it would take a long time and cost a lot of money at a time when Illinois is in grave financial trouble. We'd "elect" someone by summer...but we'd then have another election in 2010, just a year away. The special election thing is A BIG WASTE OF ILLINOIS TAXPAYER MONEY. Let Burris be interim and bow out in 2010.

    January 5, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Mary T

    Burris as interim until 2010...that has been my hope since Blagojevich named him. For all of you "but he wasn't elected" people out there...governor appointments to mid-term openings ARE THE LAW. Also, speaking as an Illinois resident, if we held a special election, none of the likely candidates is a clear choice at this point. We could have six candidates, none with a majority of the vote. You'd have to take someone who won with 30-40%, or you'd have to have a run-off election. All of it would take a long time and cost a lot of money at a time when Illinois is in grave financial trouble. We'd "elect" someone by summer...but we'd then have another election in 2010, just a year away. The special election thing is A BIG WASTE OF ILLINOIS TAXPAYER MONEY. Let Burris be interim and bow out in 2010.

    January 5, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Switched to Dem

    Molly, I don't think there would be a primary because he would be the incumbent therefor the dems would be stuck with him against whoever the repubs primary produces. A good idea is to have any seat that is filled by appointment rather than the voters of the state can be seated but must go through a primary at the next election cycle no matter what. That should be law and would solve a lot.

    January 5, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Jenny

    Looks like I called it right from the very beginning, when I said Burris and Blajoavich knew something the rest of us didn't: a deal had been struck with someone in advance of the announcement, someone who had the power to get Burris into the position even while the Feds were investigating Blajoavich...can you say Obama.

    And people thought it was going to be a new way of doing things in Washington...the new way is merely changing the players; not the backdoor shenanigans

    January 5, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. LIP

    Burris: "Of course I won't run in 2010, if seated now".
    2010: Burris claims he was distracted by a honking horn and didn't hear and thought they said "Burris, please run in 2010".
    2016: Burris serves his state well and retires filthy rich like all smart Senators.

    January 5, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. earle

    if the man is so unethical to take the position in the first place what makes you think he would keep a promise.

    January 5, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Chicago Girl

    As a citizen of Illinois, I don't care to have Burris as an interim Senator, or as a future Senator. He's a loser. He's run for Mayor of Chicago, Gov. of Illinois and Senator. He's lost everytime. A special election is needed in order to let the citizens elect a Senator. Why should we have to settle for someone who didn't have the dignity to turn down an appointment from Blago?

    January 5, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. willie

    Are they crazy? Who are they to decide what Burris does with his life? Voters have always been the decision makers in any election, why must that change now? This is a lousy request. Burris must not buckle in to this.

    January 5, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Libs be dopes

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,

    Democracy and the Democratic Party in action!

    January 5, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Nebraskan

    I will be very upset with the Dems if this is indeed what is going on. What if he wants to run and the people want to elect him in 2010?

    There is a very thin line between exchanging a senate seat for money and exchanging a senate seat for the promise of a vacant senate seat in 2010. Do the Dems not realize the hypocrisy in this?

    January 5, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Nebraskan

    If they ban him from running for the 2010 election, what incentive would he have at all to just not become totally corrupt, and uncooperative during his 2 year term?

    January 5, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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