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Burris Announces Retirement

Updated: 4 p.m.As expected, appointed Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) announced Friday that he will not seek a full term in 2010, citing his desire to spend the next year and a half focused on serving his state instead of raising money for a Senate campaign. “Life is about choices,— Burris said at a 3 p.m. news conference in Chicago. “Make no mistake, I love serving in the United States Senate.—But Burris said that the reality of modern political campaigns would force him to give an equal commitment to serving in office and raising the funds to run for office. He said he chose to focus his time on legislating instead of fundraising. “Political races have become far too expensive in this country,— Burris said.Burris, who has spent 30 years in public office, noted that he is the only African-American serving in the Senate. He referenced his predecessor, President Barack Obama, and said he thinks this is the most exciting time to be in public service.Burris’ announcement was not surprising to most political observers, who doubted Burris had the ability to raise the millions needed to be competitive in a statewide race. Burris was also tainted by his appointment by disgraced ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and continues to accumulate legal bills related to his association with the former governor. Burris’ decision does little to affect the Democratic field in next year’s Senate race, as the party appears headed toward a bloody primary fight. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is running, and Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson is exploring the race. Businessman Chris Kennedy is expected to formally enter the race in the coming weeks. Burris is the second appointed Senator to announce plans not to seek a full term next year. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Vice President Joseph Biden, made it clear when he was selected that he had no intention of running in 2010.