By Aaron Blake - 07/09/09 06:21 PM EDT
Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) is expected to announce Friday that he will not seek the seat he was appointed to early this year, according to sources familiar with his intentions.
Burris’s office announced Thursday that he will make a “major announcement” at a press conference in Chicago on Friday at 3 p.m. EST.
Burris told The Hill in an interview in recent months that he wanted to focus on learning his Senate duties, and hadn’t had the time to raise money. The Chicago Tribune reported that he found that balance, and the difficult of winning, to be too tall a task.
Burris raised just $845 in the first quarter and has yet to report his second-quarter totals, which are due next week.
“I have not sought to be a candidate. I have sought to be a senator," Burris told The Hill in May. "I think I can be a very good candidate once I become understanding and be a good senator."
Polling showed he would have faced long odds in a primary against state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is already in the race, and businessman Chris Kennedy, who is looking at entering the race.
The general election also would have been difficult, after Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) made it known Wednesday that he would run for the seat. Kirk instantly makes the general election competitive and was seen as the GOP’s best hope.
State Attorney General Lisa Madigan, an early Democratic favorite, opted not to run for the seat Wednesday.
Burris was harmed by a series of revelations about his appointment, which was made by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) shortly before he was impeached by the State Legislature.
Blagojevich was accused by federal authorities of having tried to sell the seat, which formerly belonged to President Obama. It was later revealed that Burris had suggested he might raise money for Blagojevich, though Burris denied any wrongdoing.
Some Democrats, including his Illinois colleague and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, suggested at the time that he should resign.
Durbin spokesman Joe Shoemaker said the majority whip won't comment before Burris. Durbin and Burris have had a frosty relationship.
"Sen. Burris is scheduled to make an announcement about his plans in Chicago tomorrow. He has talked to Senator Durbin, but we will let him speak for himself," Shoemaker said.
A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wouldn't comment.
-- J. Taylor Rushing contributed to this article.
-- This story was updated at 6:41 p.m.