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CHICAGO — The race for Cook County State’s Attorney is heating up, and on Monday, at the Chicago Tribune, the Democratic candidates waged war.

Challengers Donna More, Bill Conway and Bob Fioretti threw punches at Kim Foxx over her office’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case. Smollett was charged with staging a hate crime, but later all charges were dropped. A special prosecutor is probing that decision.

 “Jussie Smollett was treated differently. Everybody can admit that,” Fioretti said.

 “This case got special treatment because of who he was and who his connections were and because they reached out to you special and apart,” More said. “They didn’t go through the regular line assistant that was handling the case, they went straight to you.”

Due to the on-going investigation, Foxx is dancing around certain questions about the case. But this is her standard response.

 “I wasn’t a part of the charging decision in the case, nor was a part of the decision of who to resolve it. What I know is that oftentimes in cases that are similar to this we offer dispositions that are similar to the disposition that was given here,” Foxx said.

 Foxx’s rivals said Smollett is part of a pattern of the prosecutor going easy on criminals.

 “If somebody commits a violent crime, if somebody commits a crime with a gun, if somebody is a danger to the community, I think that person needs to stay in jail and that’s not happening today,” Conway said.

 Foxx counters that prosecutions of violent offenses are up.

The campaign battle is being waged on the television airways.

On Monday, both the Foxx and Conway released new commercials. Conway uses this spot to hit Foxx on Smollett sharing the story of a woman charged with the same crime as the actor.

“Even the judge, Judge Martin, said I was treated differently than Jussie Smollett,” the ad says. “I mean Jussie Smollett, she cared but when it came to Candace Clark she didn’t care at all.

 Foxx uses her advertisement to highlight her battle with the gun lobby.

“Truth is we all share in the struggle against poverty and violence. That’s why as State’s Attorney I took on the NRA to block the sale of assault-weapons,” Foxx’s ad says.

Conway’s campaign coffers are filling up fast thanks to his billionaire father who works for one of world’s wealthiest law firms, the Carlyle Group. The Foxx campaign is trying to make the cash an issue. Conway promises independence, saying if elected, he won’t owe anybody anything. 

The Illinois primaries will be on March 17.