News & Election Videos

December 30, 2008

Blagojevich to name Obama successor

Major news from Illinois: disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich intends to fill Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

His pick? The state’s former comptroller and attorney general, Roland Burris, who would become the third African-American senator from Illinois.

The Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill, including Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has threatened not to seat anyone Blagojevich picked.

Burris unsuccessfully ran against Blagojevich in the state's 2002 gubernatorial primary. In that closely-contested primary, he won Obama's endorsement.

Blagojevich has scheduled a news conference at 3:00 EST to make the announcement, according to the Chicago Tribune.

More from the Chicago Tribune:

Shortly after Obama's Nov. 4 victory, Burris made known his interest in an appointment to the Senate but was never seriously considered, according to Blagojevich insiders. But in the days following Blagojevich's arrest, and despite questions over the taint of a Senate appointment, Burris stepped up his efforts to win the governor's support.

Though he is 71, Burris has said that Obama's replacement should be able to win re-election and he has noted that despite a string of primary losses in races ranging from Chicago mayor to governor and U.S. senator, he's never lost to a Republican.