Burris makes the right call

BURRIS MAKES THE RIGHT CALL…. There was a scandal when he agreed to accept the Senate vacancy. There was a controversy when he tried to actually fill the vacancy. And there was another scandal when we learned the details surrounding how he came to be offered the appointment in the first place.

And today, another long national nightmare will at least get an end date.

Senator Roland Burris, the Illinois Democrat appointed by disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill the seat of President Obama, is expected to announce Friday that he will not seek election to a full Senate term, party officials said.

The decision to be announced in Chicago does not come as a surprise since Mr. Burris has not been aggressively raising money or showing other signs of organizing for what would be a difficult campaign given the circumstances of his appointment.

Mr. Burris, 71, a former Illinois attorney general and longtime presence in state politics, was picked by Mr. Blagojevich after disclosures that the governor, who was later impeached and indicted on corruption charges, was seeking to trade the appointment for personal and political gain.

Burris stood no realistic chance of winning either a Democratic primary or a general election, and his departure will effectively end the political aspect of the Blagojevich scandal, pending the trials and appeals.

There was some question, though, about whether Burris might seek a full term anyway, putting party leaders in the awkward position of actively opposing a Democratic incumbent. In this sense, Burris’ retirement is arguably the best decision he’s made since the ordeal began.

As for next year’s open-seat race, Republicans are likely to rally behind Rep. Mark Kirk, while the Democratic field will feature state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson, and businessman Christopher Kennedy. Giannoulias, a close Obama ally, has already been raising money at a fairly strong pace for the campaign.