Senate candidate begins TV ad campaign

November 10, 2009 (CHICAGO) Forty-four year old attorney Jacob Meister is using his own and borrowed money to be first in the four candidate field to run broadcast television ads.

The commercial is running in Champaign, Springfield and Peoria. Its style mimics a reality TV show with U.S. Senate candidate Jacob Meister encountering people while on his way to Springfield to file nominating petitions.

"That's what my media campaign is about. It's about the people I talk to, the people I meet with and being real," said Meister.

But at this point of the campaign it's even more important that Meister increase his name recognition.

"I think we're all getting out there and telling the voters who we are and what we stand for," said Meister.

Meister, on-leave Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson and former city inspector general David Hoffman suffer low statewide profiles compared to another contender, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. But Hoffman says Giannoulias, as part of the Democratic establishment, has less of a chance to win in the fall.

"There's this concern, very tangible, that if we don't have the right candidate in the general election, its going to be a difficult year for Democrats and we're going to lose," said David Hoffman, (D) U.S. Senate candidate.

The Jackson campaign released the results of a survey it took last week of 500 Illinois voters:

  • Giannoulias: 31%
  • Jackson:13%
  • Hoffman: 8%
  • Meister: 2%
  • Undecideds: 45%

But after voters heard positive messages about each candidate, the survey said Jackson's favorables soared to 30%, one point ahead of Giannoulias, with Hoffman and Meister still far behind and the undecideds at 24%.

Hoffman expects all those numbers to change next year after voters begin looking at the candidates.

"Voters are not going to be swayed just by a 30-second ad. They are going to pay attention to what people have been doing with their career," said Hoffman.

Meister, meanwhile, by going up on television and opening as many as four downstate field offices, has already separated himself from the other candidates.

"We're spending, we're spending a fair amount of money and we'll continue to do it until February 2nd," said Meister.

In an emailed statement, a Giannoulias spokeswoman pointed to the first part of the Cheryle Jackson poll and noted Giannoulias' "commanding lead" in the race as its stands now.

ABC7 is told Jacob Meister borrowed somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars to get his campaign up and running. He believes himself to be a serious contender despite what the early polls might suggest.

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