Blagojevich Picks Burris for Senate

In the Christmas spirit, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has given a gift to political junkies everywhere. Blagojevich has named an appointment to the U.S. ...
by | December 30, 2008

In the Christmas spirit, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has given a gift to political junkies everywhere. Blagojevich has named an appointment to the U.S. Senate, despite being under investigation for trying to sell that very seat.

His pick is Roland Burris, a former state comptroller and attorney general. Here's bit more on Burris from a Chicago Tribune profile during his 2002 run for governor (no link available):

Throughout his more than 30-year career in Illinois politics, Burris has never been one for fiery oratory or uncompromising stands on emotional issues. Instead, in his third straight run for governor, Burris continues to project himself as a stable influence who deserves to culminate his public service in the governor's mansion.

His campaign's motto--"A name you know, a name you trust"--seeks to capitalize on the name recognition Burris amassed during three terms as state comptroller and one as attorney general. His rivals, Burris said, do not have "as much experience as I do inside the corporation of the state of Illinois."

The steady-as-she-goes approach, emphasizing competence over confrontation, worked for years. But Burris, 64, has stalled on the last rung up his career ladder. In 1994 and 1998, he led in early polls but finished second in Democratic primaries for governor.

As in 1994 and 1998, Burris lost the 2002 primary for governor. The man who beat him? Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich's strategy here appears to be to appoint someone who is as unobjectionable as possible to the Senate seat. But Harry Reid and other Senate Democrats still are likely to object.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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