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Illinois governor renews call for special election to replace Burris

  • Story Highlights
  • Gov. Pat Quinn: "The only way to clear up the cloud is to have ... a special election"
  • Governor's move follows Sen. Dick Durbin's calls for Sen. Roland Burris to resign
  • Senate panel conducting probe of Burris role in ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich fundraising
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called again Friday for a special election to replace Sen. Roland Burris, whose appointment to fill President Obama's former Senate seat has subjected the state to what Quinn called a "cloud of scandal."

Burris, shown this week before President Obama's address to Congress, has said he will not resign.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, at a press briefing on the subject recently, says Sen. Roland Burris should "step aside."

"The only way to clear up the cloud is to have an election, a special election," Quinn told Chicago radio station WGN-AM. "I really feel that Roland Burris should step aside and resign and he would serve his state and himself very well."

He said there is "no good way" for Illinois to continue having Burris serve as senator.

Quinn issued a similar call a week ago and said resigning would be a "heroic act."

Quinn's strong words Friday came three days after fellow Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, the senior U.S. senator from Illinois, said Burris should consider resigning over the controversy regarding his appointment by now-impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"I told him under the circumstances I would consider resigning if I was in his shoes," Durbin said. Burris later told reporters he will not step down.

The Senate Ethics Committee has launched an investigation of Burris in light of disclosures that he spoke with Blagojevich's brother about possibly raising money for Blagojevich while the governor was deciding whom to appoint to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat after the presidential election in November.

Burris, whom Blagojevich appointed days before his impeachment, had not mentioned the conversations while testifying before the Illinois Legislature during the impeachment trial.

Durbin told Burris on Tuesday he was disappointed that Burris didn't publicly mention the conversations until two weeks after his appointment.

Durbin had supported a special election to fill Obama's seat.

"I personally feel it's important to say this in plain language," Quinn told WGN. "The office of United States senator should not be subject to the kind of controversy, cloud of scandal it's been subjected to."

He added, "We can't have our state, the land of Lincoln, subjected to jokes, barbs from all over the country and all over the world because of this Senate seat that has been the subject of scandal since December 9."

Illinois' largest paper, the Chicago Tribune, also has called on Burris to resign.

All About Abraham LincolnRod BlagojevichBarack Obama

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