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Hello Kossacks!

I'm David Hoffman, and I'm running for U.S. Senate in Illinois. This is the seat formerly held by President Obama and the same seat that former Illinois Gov. Blagojevich referred to as, "bleeping golden". The current office-holder, Senator Burris, is not running for re-election.

This is my first time on Daily Kos, please watch the video or read below for a short intro to my campaign.

Kossacks, Meet David Hoffman

The only blog that covered my work while I was the Inspector General of Chicago, Second City Cop, does not routinely follow politics. So, bear with me as I make my introduction to the blogosphere, and please join me in the comments section where we can talk about the issues and talk about this race.

Sixteen years of public service:

Most recently, in January 2009, Governor Pat Quinn appointed me and 14 others to the Illinois Reform Commission, which was charged with recommending anti-corruption and ethics reforms in the wake of former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s arrest.

While participating in the Commission’s hearings through town hall meetings around Illinois, I heard extensive testimony from citizens about their frustration with Illinois’ history of corruption and their desire for reform. I drafted substantial portions of the Commission’s proposed legislation regarding criminal law and contracting reforms, and testified at a number of legislative hearings on behalf of the Commission’s recommendations.

As Inspector General for the City of Chicago for four years, I transformed the Inspector General’s Office into a fiercely independent and highly professional anti-corruption office. I directed a 60-person staff of attorneys, investigators, and auditors that exposed bribery, fraud and theft schemes, contracting corruption, illegal employment practices, ethics violations, and extensive waste. Joint investigations with the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies led to federal charges against numerous city employees and contractors and uncovered widespread corruption in Chicago’s system of building-safety and zoning inspections.

Prior to my time at the IG, I served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago from 1998-2005, and was appointed Deputy Chief of the Narcotics and Gangs Section by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In this post, I led a newly created gang unit, supervised all federal gang investigations and prosecutions, and helped create a new federal-local gang investigation strategy that Justice Department officials used to train gang investigators around the country. I also served as co-leader of the office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) anti-gun violence program, which helped reduce gun violence in some of Chicago’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

I hope you agree that this is the strongest resume to take corruption off of the table in 2010 when Republicans are certain to be running against Rod Blagojevich and the past.

Dynamics of the race:

Ultimately, this race comes down to keeping President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in the Democratic column. Former Governor Blagojevich will be on trial next summer and fall, prior to the November 2010 election. It is my belief that an outsider with a proven record of independence, an outsider with no connections to Blagojevich or Tony Rezko, makes the strongest candidate to keep this seat blue. Consider that the National Journal ranks this the second most at-risk seat for Democrats in 2010. The National Journal wrote:

We're simply not convinced that the field of Democratic candidates -- with the possible exception of former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman -- can present the sort of "outsider" credentials to avoid being lumped (fairly or not) with Rod Blagojevich, et al.

The likely Republican nominee is Mark Kirk, who has held a swing district (IL-10) in the United States Congress since 2001. In 2004, John Kerry won Illinois’ 10th District with 52% of the vote and Obama dominated John McCain in Kirk’s district in his 2008 presidential victory. In those same years, qualified, well-funded Democratic congressional candidates have lost to Kirk because of his moderate image. Kirk will be a formidable Republican in the general election.

Since announcing my candidacy almost three months ago, we have raise over $1.5M, built a statewide organization, and continue to build in-roads among Democratic Party leaders who do not want to lose elections at the local and state levels. The clock is ticking and we are working overtime through the holidays in preparation for a Feb. 2nd primary election.

Recent campaign highlights:

  1. Yesterday, I was endorsed by the New Trier Township Democrats. I received nearly 80% of all votes cast; New Trier Township includes Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, and Glencoe, plus portions of Glenview and Northfield. The New Trier Democrats met with both Alexi Giannoulias and myself, before they voted overwhelmingly to support my campaign (almost 80%).
  1. Saturday, I had a great night meeting with supporters in DeKalb -- one of our target areas that traditionally votes for reform candidates.
  1. Sunday, we had a good time at the "Real Men Cook" roast dinner. Take a look at the pictures here.
  1. The campaign is up and running on television with an introductory ad that will build name recognition across Illinois.

The television ad has propelled fundraising, but we could always use help to get my message out during the home stretch! Thank you so much for your support.

  1. On Dec. 2nd, President Obama announced that he would send an additional 30,000 young men and women to Afghanistan. While my Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, supported this troop escalation, I have continued my opposition to it. You can watch my answer to a question about Afghanistan that was taped on Oct. 8th and you will find that it is consistent to my official response to the president’s speech on Dec. 2nd.

What else can you do to help to keep Obama’s Senate seat in Democratic hands?

  1. Our campaign is making personalized videos like this one. If you know 50 people in Illinois and would like a personalized video to send to your friends, please don’t hesitate to send robert@hoffmanforillinois.com your name and number.
  1. We are looking for volunteers to make phone calls, knock on doors, and volunteer on election day – please contact karen@hoffmanforillinois.com if you are interested in helping.
  1. If you want to join our blog team, please contact lara@hoffmanforillinois.com.

Originally posted to Hoffman For Illinois on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 03:39 PM PST.

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