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Quinn Backs Off Of Burris

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Mar 2, 2009 10:05PM

In an about-face from his recent calls for Senator Burris to resign and for a special election to be held to fill the U.S. Senate seat, Governor Quinn today backed off of Burris and said the focus of Illinois should instead be on things like the economy. Said Quinn:

I think there should be a special election, you can not have a special election unless the incumbent resigns, the incumbent has said he will not resign...My fight is for the people of Illinois, to help their economy, to help their schools, to help their health care. I think the other matters of politics, if I have no control over it, then we have to focus on the real things for people who live from paycheck to paycheck all over this state.

Quinn's back-pedaling came after a meeting this afternoon with several black elected officials such as U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Illinois State Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), Ald. Ed Smith (28th), though Quinn said the meeting had nothing to do with his change of heart. Still, the timing seems curious, given that Quinn has been harping on it for the last week now and just made his declaration to run for office in 2010.

Said Ald. Burnett, "Burris' Senate seat is really bigger than Burris as far as race goes, because he's the only African-American Senator in the United States of America. So this is a big deal to the African-American community." Ald. Smith added, "Our position is that he should stay in office, and we don't feel that the governor, or Senator Dick Durbin, has the wherewithal to throw him out of office. He represents this community."