Despite warnings from Senate Democrats that they would not seat anyone appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by president-elect Barack Obama, the AP is reporting Gov. Blagojevich is going to go ahead and name former Illinois attorney general Roland Burris as president-elect Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate. Senate leaders have already begun preparing a statement responding to the appointment, and the letter will allegedly express express regret for the appointment. The statement was expected to make it clear that Senate leaders were not necessarily opposed to the former attorney general assuming the seat, but given the circumstances surrounding Gov. Blagojevich, anyone named by Blagojevich would not be seated by the Democratic caucus.
According to the AP, Burris became the first black politician to win statewide office in Illinois when he was elected comptroller in 1978 to the first of three terms. Burris also served one term as the state’s attorney general, but he failed in three attempts at the Democratic nomination for governor, losing to Blagojevich in 2002.
While this is certainly a curious move, given the public statements Democrats in the U.S. Senate have made regarding their unwillingness to seat any replacement named by Gov. Blagojevich, I’ll give Blagojevich credit…he’s ballsy. While I’m not sure why Blagojevich would name a replacement under the circumstances, I have a sneaking suspicion he’s doing it just to thumb his nose at the establishment. Either way, he’s got one hell of an ego.