For what they say is a “sure-thing” race for the Democrats, the Machine sure is expending a lot of firepower to attack Republican Paul McKinley in the IL-02 special election coming up on April 9.

What are they afraid of?

Media outlets are issuing hit pieces on him; Media Matters’ editor is tweeting about him, and establishment-cozy Republicans are distancing themselves from him.

After largely ignoring the Republicans during the primary, reporters like Chicago Tribune “watchdog” Bill Ruthhart are climbing over themselves to find a reason to mention that McKinley is an ex-offender.

Breitbart’s Rebel Pundit exposes the eagerness with which local Fox reporter Mike Flannery has gone after the Republican, most recently in a video segment where the reporter refers to his win as an “ugly surprise,” and likens him to “Sparky the Clown”:

Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Why such gusto, when they seem to have lost so much energy in going after Democrat Robin Kelly’s ethics violations?

Perhaps it’s because McKinley has such a powerful story of repentance. He is upfront and honest about the mistakes he made in life as a younger man. That is a story which resonates. I have seen McKinley at public forums and meeting people, and he is a hit wherever he goes.

As a conservative community activist protesting the sweetheart crony deals, Paul has been reaching corners of the Second District that haven’t seen the light for decades under the shadow of the Democratic Machine.

Perhaps, for the first time, the Machine is starting to be afraid.