Alexi Giannoulias receives endorsement of Cook County Democrats

The committeemen earlier endorsed State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in his bid for U.S. Senate.

Giannoulias and two of the three other Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate asked for the party’s blessing Friday.

Former City of Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman, whose job it was to investigate some of these committeemen’s loyalists on the city payroll, did not attend. He formally announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate Thursday.

Giannoulias argued he was the best candidate to stop the Republican Party and its front-runner Mark Kirk from taking back the seat once held by President Obama.

“We cannot let that happen with President Barack Obama’s seat,” Giannoulias said. “It would be an enormous embarrassment for our president.”

Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson said she would be the better candidate against Kirk because more women than men will vote in the general election. She highlighted Kirk’s vote against equal pay for equal work, against expanding children’s insurance and against Obama’s economic recovery plan.

Attorney Jacob Meister criticized all three of his opponents, saying he has “no history with organized crime” — an apparent reference to loans Giannoulias’ family’s bank made in years past to shady figures; he was not “a figure in Gov. Blagojevich’s cabinet” — Jackson was Rod Blagojevich’s spokeswoman for two years; and he criticized Hoffman for clerking for conservative Republican judges.

Hoffman said he did not attend Friday because “I’m never going to be the candidate of the insiders – that’s part of my campaign.”

The process of slating candidates by the Cook County Democratic party is under way.

Party leaders slated Alexi Giannoulias in the race for U.S. Senate Friday, and they decided not to slate a candidate in the Cook County Board president contest.

The candidates in many races spent the last two days making their pitch before party leaders. It's the new-age version of the political "smoke-filled room," with an open door and no smoking.