The primary election to replace ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., is approaching on February 26, and Democrat heavies are attacking their own frontrunner, Debbie Halvorson.

The the top three contenders in the Democratic primary, according to an internal poll, are Debbie Halvorson, Toi Hutchinson, and Robin Kelly.

Halvorson is the former congresswoman who lost her seat in the primary to Jesse Jackson, Jr. as part of the Democrats’ 2011 redistricting. State Senator Toi Hutchinson is an Illinois State Senator who was recently endorsed by anti-Second Amendment maven Toni Preckwinkle, and Robin Kelly, endorsed by Daily Kos, worked for former Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias.

Mayor Bloomberg’s PAC “Independence USA” is running ads against Democratic candidate Debbie Halvorson for being more pro-gun than her Democrat running-mates.

Then, David Axelrod responding to Politico’s pronouncement that she may win with “Ironic, given carnage in 2d CD.”

David Axelrod Halvorson

Yesterday, BuzzFeed published a piece indicating that only three of the 22 candidates had filed financial disclosures with the House Ethics Committee, singling out Toi Hutchinson and one other for their failure to do so (most likely, the reason many of the others did not file is they did not reach the require minimum threshold of $5,000).

So both Halvorson and Hutchinson have been attacked in the past week by Dems, in fact the Tribune published a piece today questioning Hutchinson’s prior pro-gun stances, leaving just Robin Kelly untouched (and endorsed by Daily Kos). With 17 Democrats having filed (some have since dropped out), you have to wonder if Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his Machine may not have the grip they’d like on the Machine–and just who it is they’d like to position for a win.

In the meantime, the five Republican candidates are holding another debate tonight, although only one Republican candidate, Paul McKinley, showed up to the bipartisan debate I covered at Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church last weekend. McKinley’s message against the Machine continue to resonate across the political spectrum, as it did that night, and he may be the only one whose message can span both the rural and urban parts of the 2nd district. (See McKinley’s website and “like” him on Facebook).