Jesse Jackson Jr.: Burris Nomination ‘Racialized’

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D) warned Tuesday that Senate Democrats risk alienating black voters by refusng to seat Roland Burris, creating racial tension that could result in the party losing the Illinois Senate seat in 2010.

“The longer this process takes the more racialized this seat becomes and the more difficult it becomes for Democrats to hold it in 2010,” Jackson, a onetime candidate for the seat, told CNN.

Jackson had lobbied for the seat before it was revealed that he was “Senate Candidate 5” in a complaint against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) alleging the governor had sought to sell the Senate seat. Jackson has denied any wrongdoing in his efforts to win the appointment to succeed President-elect Obama in the Senate.

“There is a strong constitutional and legal case for his seating,” Jackson added, saying that Burris’s “credentials are in order.”

Jackson also admitted he had not spoken to either Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) about the Burris appointment.

Blagojevich selected Burris last week amidst calls for his resignation, or a special election to choose Illinois’s next Senator. Blagojevich had said he preferred an African American candidate to replace Obama in the Senate, fueling racial elements in the reaction to the nomination of Burris, who is also an African American.

Tags Candidate Position Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate Dick Durbin Government of Illinois Illinois Indictment Jesse Jackson Jesse Jackson Jr. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Person Career Person Communication Politics Quotation Rod Blagojevich Rod Blagojevich Rod Blagojevich controversies Rod Blagojevich corruption charges Roland Burris Roland Burris Social Issues

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