updated 8/10/2009 8:36:52 PM ET 2009-08-11T00:36:52

A top aide to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.

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Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson issued a statement Monday about her intention to run. She plans to formally announce her candidacy next month.

Her entry into the race makes her the best-known black candidate to seek the seat that has been held by three of the nation's four black senators in modern times. The Senate's only black member — Roland Burris — currently holds it.

Burris isn't seeking a full term because of fundraising troubles.

The 44-year-old Jackson will face Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois' treasurer, in the Democratic primary in February.

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