(Updated with video Monday morning)
WASHINGTON -- After exploring a Senate run, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) told me Sunday she instead will seek another term in the House.
Schakowsky had set today as her deadline for deciding whether to jump into the Democratic primary.
She told me a statewide contest "would have been very exciting," but she wanted to take advantage of "this moment in history" to use her House leadership position -- she is part of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's inner circle -- to work on pending health care and energy legislation.
While testing the waters, Schakowsky's polling pointed to her having a "strong chance" of winning a Senate race. But she said the time it would take to raise the $10 million needed for the primary and another $16 million for the general election would basically leave her absent for House committee and floor work.
In a statement to be released today, Schakowsky, an Evanston resident first elected to Congress in 1998, said the time requirements to raise the millions of dollars need to run in the Senate contest would have turned her into "a telemarketer five to six hours each day."
"Over the next two years, Congress has the opportunity to provide health care to all Americans, begin on the road to energy independence, remake the financial regulatory system, pass immigration reform and help transform our relationship with the rest of the world. I think the next two years present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make progressive change. I want to devote my energy to help make these things a reality, and decided that I simply couldn't do it if I mounted a campaign for Senate," her statement said.
The Democratic field is still taking shape, while Republican Party leaders in Illinois are focusing on persuading Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to get in the race, with no major figure in place for a plan "B."
The drama on the Democratic side is centering on whether Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will run for governor or the Senate. Senate Democratic leaders have been recruiting Madigan, but in recent weeks she has been raising political money that could not be used in a federal race.
State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is already running and raising money for a Senate election, although he has not made a formal announcement. Merchandise Mart mogul Chris Kennedy has been organizing his campaign.
Sen. Roland Burris is in terrible shape to run --he hasn't raised any significant money and has a Senate ethics inquiry and a Sangamon County state's attorney probe hanging over him, stemming from whether he gave misleading statements about contacts he had with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich before Blagojevich appointed him to the seat once held by President Obama.
Others mulling a run are City of Chicago Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely and Chicago Urban League Chief Cheryle R. Jackson.