Because Halvorson is the only white candidate in the primary, originally facing nearly two dozen African-Americans, there was a reasonable chance she would win a slim plurality with the black vote splintering so many different ways.

In fact, polls early on showed her leading — but that was before Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC unleashed a pair of TV ads and a series of mailers against her and her positions on guns. Now, days ahead of the vote, Kelly appears to be in the lead, with a pair of other top contenders having dropped out.

Bloomberg has been quite open about his desire to push stronger gun laws in the country, particularly after the December elementary school massacre in Newtown. Asked this week about involving himself in the Illinois race, he answered: “I’m part of the public and I happen to have some money. That’s what I am trying to do with my money — trying to get us some sensible gun laws.”