Burris announced Friday that he will step down as Illinois Senator in January of 2011. He said that he would not seek reelection because "the business of the people of Illinois should always come first."
Burris was awarded the seat, previously held by President Obama, by indicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Burris stepped up to the mic with cheers and applause from supporters yelling "don't quit" and "run, Roland, run."
"Life is about choices. Make no mistake, I love serving in the United States Senate,” he said.
He cited his inability to raise money and focus on issues as one of the main reasons for not running for reelection.
Burris concluded by saying that he would "keep fighting for the great people of the state of Illinois.”
He greeted the crowd briefly after the announcement but took no questions.
Burris' decision does not come as a surprise, considering his tenure as Senator has been fraught with scandal and controversy.
As a result of the Blagojevich scandal and questions in Burris' statements about his relationship with the former governor, Burris has been largely relegated to the realm of isolated political figures in Washington. Burris was not able to raise $1,000 during his first three months of office.
At The New Republic, Michelle Cottle writes that this was probably the best outcome for the Democrats:
The Dems now don't have to worry about spending time and energy--not to mention suffering the high-profile humiliation--of trying to unseat a guy in the primary who sure looks as though there was funny business surrounding his appointment.
While many names are on the list, it is unsure who will be replacing Burris in the 2011 election for the Democrats.
"As for next year's open-seat race," Steven Benen writes at the Washington Monthly,"Republicans are likely to rally behind Rep. Mark Kirk, while the Democratic field will feature state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson, and businessman Christopher Kennedy. Giannoulias, a close Obama ally, has already been raising money at a fairly strong pace for the campaign."
Earlier this week, former chief of staff to former Gov. Blagojevich, John Harris, pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud. Last month Christopher Kelly, Blagojevich's former adviser and chief fundraiser, was sentenced to 37 months in prison on federal tax fraud charges.