Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman (D) met with top White House adviser David Axelrod on Thursday afternoon to discuss his 2010 Senate bid, according to Hoffman’s campaign manager.Hoffman, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and former Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Robinson Jackson are running for the Democratic nomination for the seat President Barack Obama once held. Giannoulias, who polls show is the frontrunner for the nod, famously palled around with Obama when they were lawmakers together in Illinois, but the president has indicated he will not endorse any candidate until after the Feb. 2 primary. “The purpose of the meeting was for David Hoffman to have an opportunity to meet with David Axelrod and lay out the merits of his candidacy,— Hoffman campaign manager Michael Powell said.Top aides at the White House do not traditionally meet with Senate candidates — with the exception of this seat, which Obama held from 2005 until after he won the presidency. Axelrod met with Giannoulias on Oct. 14, and Obama and other top aides met with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) in June in a failed attempt to recruit her to run for the seat. According to Powell, Hoffman’s campaign notified the White House that he would be in town and Axelrod’s staff invited him to a meeting. Before joining Obama in the White House, Axelrod ran a media consulting firm in Chicago for more than two decades. “There’s a strong feeling that, as you know, David Axelrod and the Democrats in Illinois want to keep this seat,— Powell said. “It’s Barack Obama’s Senate seat.—Republicans have indicated that they plan to target Obama’s former seat, which is held by appointed Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), who is not running for a full term. The likely GOP nominee is Rep. Mark Kirk, and polls show him in a competitive race with Giannoulias. Hoffman is using Axelrod’s former political consulting firm, AKPD Message and Media, to advise his campaign. Axelrod gave up his ownership stake in the firm he founded around the time Obama took office.