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Illinois: Hoffman, Jackson Join Democratic Senate Field

Two more Democrats jumped into the open-seat Senate race this week, joining Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in the February primary.

Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman announced his campaign for the seat this week. Hoffman was appointed earlier this year to the Illinois Reform Commission, which was created by state officials to investigate ethical conduct following the scandal surrounding former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).

“It’s time for us to turn the page on the Blagojevich-Rezko era and nominate a candidate for U.S. Senate with no connection to the corrupt politics and cozy relationships of the past,— Hoffman said in his announcement, referring to the disgraced former governor and Tony Rezko, a Chicago developer and political fundraiser imprisoned after being convicted of fraud and money laundering.

Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson also formally kicked off her campaign Wednesday in Chicago. The former Blagojevich spokeswoman announced several months ago that she was exploring a bid but made her campaign official this week.

Giannoulias is considered to be the frontrunner in the Democratic primary and reported having $1.6 million in the bank at the end of June.

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is expected to win the Republican nomination.

Long Grove Mayor to Challenge Bean in 2010

Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez (R) announced this week that she is running against Rep. Melissa Bean (D) in 2010.

“I am running because Members of Congress have lost touch with the people,— Rodriguez said. “They are not listening and that is unacceptable to me.—

Bean had a hard-fought battle to win her first term in Congress in 2004, when she defeated longtime Rep. Phil Crane (R) in her second run for the seat. Republicans have tried to target her without success in subsequent cycles, and she won re-election by more than a 20 point margin last November.

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