The race to fill White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s Congressional seat includes at least 10 Democratic hopefuls and some top Obama campaign talent.

Most insiders point to three Democrats as leaders of the crowded pack: State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County Comissioner Mike Quigley and State Rep. John Fritchey.

Behind the Quigley campaign are several top Obama hands. Obama strategist Pete Giangreco of the Chicago-based firm The Strategy Group is working for Quigley. Also on Quigley’s team is pollster John Anzalone of Anzalone Liszt Research and media consultant Saul Shorr—both worked Obama’s ’08 race.

Behind Sara Feigenholtz’s campaign is John Kupper of AKPD Message and Media—David Axelrod’s former partner. Kupper worked alongside Axelrod and David Plouffe this past fall as an adviser to Obama. Kupper was also Rahm Emanuel’s chief strategist when he won a three way primary in the 5th District back in 2002.

Despite working on different sides in the 5th District race, “We’re actually doing other local Illinois races together,” Anzalone tells Campaign Insider. The three firms are working together on another client—Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. AKPD is doing Cockrel’s media, while The Strategy Group is doing direct mail and Anzalone Liszt is polling.

The Democratic primary in the 5th CD is set for March 3, the outcome of which will likely decide who wins the seat April 7th. Handicapping the race is tough given the crowded field, but Feigenholtz is ahead when it comes to money. An internal poll from the Quigley campaign put its candidate ahead in name id and vote. And the Fritchey campaign is boasting strong labor backing, but is battling some bad press over the Roland Burris fiasco.

Much more to come about the ground and media strategy in this race in Campaign Insider.

Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. sdaprile@politicsmagazine.com