Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It's no mystery why Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich would want to appoint Roland Burris to Illinois' vacant Senate seat.
By offering the job to an unobjectionable elder statesman, Blagojevich is saying, in effect, "See, I didn't sell the seat." This dovetails with the argument Blagojevich's lawyers are making to try to head off his impeachment. Their case is that everything on those tapes was just talk. Blagojevich, they argue, didn't do anything wrong.
The real mystery, though, is why Burris would accept the appointment. He's going to face a fight even to make it into the Senate. He's now associated with a governor whose approval ratings are in the single digits. And, because of that association, he's very unlikely to win a full term in the Senate when the seat is up in 2010. Who needs all that hassle?
Apparently, the answer is Roland Burris. On an earlier post today, a commenter pointed to this very interesting article on Burris from Illinois Issues in 1998:Like Chicago athletes Michael Jordan and Ryne Sandberg, Roland Burris has heeded voices, perhaps internal as well as external, and returned to the field more than once. He has yet to enjoy the success of his athletic counterparts, though. And critics claim that while his quixotic comebacks, including unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senate and Chicago mayor, apparently haven't dented his psyche, they may have bruised his credibility Nevertheless, Burris is making an eighth try in 22 years for statewide office.
Note that Burris had this reputation as someone who couldn't resist the limelight even before his 2002 bid for governor. Now, a decade after that article, he's still not ready to step out of the spotlight.
GOVERNING Politics is the place for news and analysis on campaigns and elections. If there's a ballot measure in California, a legislative election in Alabama, a mayoral election in Anchorage or a governor's race in Rhode Island, GOVERNING Politics probably is writing about it. We love everything about state and local politics, from polls and campaign ads to policy debates and demographic trends.