David Hoffman (D), a former Assistant U.S. Attorney to Northern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, has entered the race to succeed Sen. Roland Burris (D) in President Obama’s former Senate seat. Burris earlier this year announced he would not to seek a full term after controversy over his appointment by Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who was arrested in December for what Fitzgerald described as a “political crime spree.”
Fitzgerald is the crime-fighting Eliot Ness whose public corruption probe also snared a former Barack Obama fundraiser, Antoin Rezko. Hoffman is following in his former boss’s footsteps, announcing on his campaign web site that he’s running to clean up public life.
Hoffman was most recently the inspector general for the City of Chicago. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1998 to 2005, and Fitzgerald appointed him deputy chief of the office’s narcotics and gangs section. Hoffman also was leader of the office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods anti-gun violence program. Earlier this year, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) appointed Hoffman to the Illinois Reform Commission, which was tasked with recommending public reforms after the Blagojevich embarrassment.
Although he omits their names from his campaign site, Hoffman clerked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Dennis G. Jacobs, both appointed by Republican presidents. Hoffman graduated from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, where he was articles editor of the law review.
In the primary, Hoffman will likely face several opponents, including the early frontrunner, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. Giannoulias in 2006 was elected with 54 percent of the vote and was endorsed by President Obama. On the Republican side, Rep. Mark Kirk is considered the frontrunner, The Sun-Times reported.
Here’s Hoffman’s explanation for why he’s running: