WASHINGTON–Embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) meets with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday afternoon. Burris understands that he needs to try to mollify Durbin and he will attempt to do that.
Scoop: Burris will also be sending, directly or indirectly (maybe this is it) two messages: he will not resign in the wake of the controversy surrounding his appointment by the ousted Gov. Blagojevich and he will not run for the seat in 2010. Burris has finally realized that not seeking election next year is the least price he will pay.
Here is the state of play regarding Burris, from the Burris perspective.
*Senate Democratic leadership is going to realize Burris is not going away soon.
*The Senate Ethics panel moves slowly.
*The Sangamon Co. (Ill.) inquiry about Burris’ will take some time.
*The Senate Democrats need Burris for his vote, especially with the Minnesota seat still up in the air.
*So they all have to make this work somehow.
If Burris quits, Gov. Quinn will appoint a Democrat on a temporary basis–someone, Quinn told me, who would be a caretaker. Quinn then would push the Illinois legislature to change the law for a special election.
Quinn has called on Burris to quit.
I asked Quinn Monday when we talked what he would do if Burris did not resign. He said the state lawmakers could pass a special election law effectively shortening Burris’ tenure. That could be subject to a constitutional challenge.
Quinn said Democrats would have not problem hanging on to the Senate seat. Despite fears that the Blagojevich scandal hurts Illinois Democrats, a Dem nominee would win a general election “in a landslide,” Quinn predicted.
He noted that none of the Illinois GOP lawmakers in Congress voted for President Obama’s stimulus. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) mulling Senate runs, would be hit with those no votes.
As for Burris, Quinn said, “There are other missions in life for Roland Burris to be a public servant” other than in the Senate and suggested that he “find a civic cause.”