Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn (D-Joliet) said he officially will throw his hat into the ring for Illinois Comptroller on Thursday and announce he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for the post.

That position is held by Judy Barr Topinka, the former state GOP chair who lost to Rod Blagojevich in 2006.

“I’m running for comptroller because it’s time we had a professional accountant watchdog with the Illinois checkbook,” Blackburn said. “Judy has over 30 years in politics but zero years in accounting.”

Under Blackburn’s helm, the Illinois Policy Institute ranked Will County among the top five most transparent governments, largely due to Blackburn putting the county’s checkbook online.

Nationally, the Sunshine Review rated Will A+ for transparency and accountability. Blackburn was awarded Illinois Auditor of the Year.

A Certified Public Accountant, Blackburn, 35, worked at the Joliet firm Wermer, Rogers, Doran and Ruzon. Topinka, 69, served as state treasurer from 1995 to 2007.

“We need a comptroller with a skill set of a professional accountant,” Blackburn said, pointing to the state’s late payments,increasing debt and falling credit rating. “The job is the state’s top accountant, and that’s what I’m offering the people of Illinois.”

Blackburn’s campaign co-chairs are U.S. Rep. Bill Foster and Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Sr.

Topinka’s spokesman Brad Hahn told the Sun-Times that she is “100 percent in” for a reelection bid.

Blackburn’s announcement event will be at the Renaissance Center, 214 N. Ottawa Street in Joliet at 5 p.m.

Contributing: Natasha Korecki, Sun-Times Media