Embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris planned Friday to say he won't run for a full term in 2010, making official the end of a short Senate career clouded by the circumstances of his appointment by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
In prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press, Burris said he was bowing out of the 2010 race because of the burden of raising money to pay for a campaign.
"I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds, or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of Illinois should always come first," Burris said, according to the prepared remarks.
Burris had refused to make any commitment about his future plans until today although his ever-changing story regarding his relationship with the disgraced former governor and his non-existent fundraising during the first three months of the year led savvy strategists to conclude he would not (or could not) run.
The race had passed Burris by with speculation centering on whether or not Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) would run. (She decided against doing so earlier this week.)
With Burris formally out of the race, the Democratic slate is likely to come down to state Treasurer Alexi Giannnoulias and Merchandise Mart CEO Chris Kennedy. Republicans face the possibility of a primary of their own with Rep. Mark Kirk in the race and Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna weighing a bid.
While Burris's retirement has little practical impact on the race -- for the reasons mentioned above -- it does save the White House and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee a potential headache since they would almost certainly not have supported Burris in the primary, a move that could have led some in the African American community to question the party's motives.
To his friends he'll always be remembered as a Senator.