WASHINGTON--Political neophyte David Hoffman, the Inspector General of the City of Chicago, on Wednesday launched a Democratic bid for the U.S. Senate. His entry into the race reflects a view among some in the Illinois Democratic political establishment that neither of the two candidates already in the contest--state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago Urban League Chief Cheryle Jackson-- may not be strong enough to beat Rep. Mark Kirk, the leading Republican in the GOP primary.
Hoffman, a corruption fighter in Mayor Daley's City Hall--the man has plenty of material--however, is a massively untested political figure. Hoffman is also starting the giant job of fund-raising from scratch and very late in the game.
Hoffman retained David Axelrod's former firm, AKPD, to handle his bid and they gave him the kind of rollout one gives to a political rookie that is, announcement by video. However the White House, which wooed Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to run--she turned down President Obama--gave up after Madigan in intervening in the race--and is not going to back Hoffman or anyone else.
The firm--poised to represent Merchandise Mart mogul Chris Kennedy if he had jumped in the race-- clearly wants to cloister Hoffman at this stage and not repeat the mistakes made by Caroline Kennedy when she tested-the-waters for securing the appointment to replace then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. Senate and found herself stumbling in the rough and tumble of New York politics and press.
Hoffman will make a formal announcement soon. His videogives a few clues on what his Senate campaign will be about--ethics and cleaning up government as an independent. Kirk is also making ethics a central theme.
"The insiders and special interests will try to stop us," said Hoffman on his video.
Before Madigan decided to run again for Attorney General, Hoffman was mulling a run for the Attorney General slot.
One interesting note: On Hoffman's Senate site biography, he notes that he was a law clerk for a Supreme Court Justice--but does not include the name. On Hoffman's City of Chicago biography, Hoffman names who he worked for---Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist--- a Republican appointee.
below, release from Hoffman
David Hoffman Resigns As Chicago Inspector General;
Will Run for Democratic Nod for U.S. Senate
Chicago... David Hoffman, Inspector General for the City of Chicago, today resigned the IG position he's held for the past four years in order to run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in the primary election on February 2, 2010.
Hoffman has released a video announcement of his intentions, which is posted at www.hoffmanforillinois.com. The website also contains a biography and other background information on Hoffman.
HOFFMAN BIO FROM THE CITY OF CHICAGO
David Hoffman, Inspector General
On September 8, 2005, David Hoffman was appointed Inspector General of the City of Chicago by the Mayor. On October 6, 2005, the City Council confirmed Hoffman's appointment. Hoffman's term as Inspector General is four years.
Prior to becoming Inspector General, Hoffman was an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago from June 1998 through September 2005. Hoffman prosecuted a wide variety of federal cases including the prosecution of 48 defendants who used rented babies to smuggle liquid cocaine in baby-formula cans from Panama to Chicago, New York, and England. In 2002, Hoffman and his colleagues on the case received the Department of Justice's Director's Award for this prosecution. Hoffman's other cases include the prosecution of three Chicago Police Officers for civil rights violations when they committed perjury and submitted false police reports relating to numerous gun and drug arrests. Hoffman also prosecuted the owner and clerk of a federally-licensed gun shop, along with the gun shop itself, for an extensive, fraudulent scheme to sell guns to convicted felons through straw purchasers and then to cover up the illegal sales.
In September 2002, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald selected Hoffman to be a Deputy Chief in the Narcotics and Gangs Section. In that role, Hoffman led the office's gang unit, supervising 10 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and all federal gang investigations and prosecutions. In conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, Hoffman helped to create new gang strategy plans in Chicago in which federal, state, and local law enforcement leaders built consensus on top gang targets, shared intelligence, and coordinated gang prosecutions.
Beginning in January 2003, Hoffman also served as the U.S. Attorney's Office's Co-Coordinator of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federally-funded anti-gun-violence program in which law enforcement and community groups work together to reduce gun violence in Chicago. Hoffman helped create PSN "parolee forums" to deter gun felons from possessing guns by telling them about both strict federal gun penalties and constructive job and education programs.
Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's office, Hoffman served as a law clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court during October Term 1997.
The prior year he served as a law clerk for Judge Dennis G. Jacobs, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York City. After his clerkship with Chief Justice Rehnquist, Hoffman worked for one year as a litigation associate at the law firm of Howard, Darby & Levin in New York City.
Hoffman is a 1988 cum laude graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in History. Hoffman was captain of the Yale rugby team. In 1995, Hoffman graduated with High Honors from the University of Chicago Law School. In law school, Hoffman was Articles Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, was a Tony Patino Fellow for public service leadership, and received the University of Chicago's 1994 President's Award for Volunteer Service for creating the "Neighbors" community service program in Woodlawn.