CHICAGO (CBS) — Former U.S. Sen. Roland Burris isn’t running for Chicago mayor.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Burris said, “I want to thank all of those who backed me for the office of mayor and those who signed the petition, but I will not be offering myself as a candidate for mayor of Chicago.”

Burris was essentially drafted to run for mayor. Supporters gathered signatures on nominating petitions for him, although he never promised to run and did not deliver the petitions himself.

Insiders had said that money was a major issue in avoiding the race, because Burris is $800,000 in debt for legal bills.

Burris stepped down from the U.S. Senate at the end of last month after serving nearly two years. Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him to succeed President Barack Obama after his successful run for the White House.

“This election is very important, because it will determine whether Chicago remains the attractive, competitive, creative, effective, and productive city we all know it to be,” Burris added Friday. “I wish all of those who are in the race well. As a voter, I look forward to a spirited contest.”

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