The April 26 Democratic primary election for Pennsylvania attorney general is shaping up to be a classic East-vs.-West political battle for the state.

And "up-ballot" contests - maybe for president, definitely for the U.S. Senate - could influence the outcome of the race.

This race already promised to be attention-grabbing because the incumbent attorney general, Democrat Kathleen Kane, is headed to trial, accused of leaking secret grand jury information to the Daily News. She has not said whether she will seek a second term in office.

Here in the east, Montgomery County Commission Chairman Josh Shapiro is expected to be a formidable candidate. Shapiro, who is being sworn in Monday for his second term, has been reluctant to speak publicly about his plans for the race.

Out west, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. - a man with a strong political brand name in a region that reliably turns out to vote for primaries - became a candidate three weeks ago.

Three other Democrats are also running.

If the conventional wisdom holds that this will be primarily a match between Shapiro and Zappala, then the struggle for endorsements and the stumping on experience may determine the outcome.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell, a major booster for Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination for president, says he will "likely" endorse Shapiro if he runs. Shapiro, Rendell said, needs strong voter turnout in Southeastern Pennsylvania to beat Zappala.

The primary between Clinton and Bernie Sanders, if still competitive in late April, "would help Josh in a big way" for turnout, Rendell said.

A more likely driver for southeastern turnout will be the fight between former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak and Gov. Wolf's former chief of staff, Katie McGinty, for the nomination to challenge incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, in the general election.

Sestak is from Delaware County; McGinty is a Philadelphia native.

Zappala can also get some help from that race.

John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock in Allegheny County, has proved remarkably adept at attracting attention to his bid in the Senate primary. That could enhance western voter turnout.

Zappala seems to be counting on support from two Philadelphia powers: U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, the city's Democratic chairman, and John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, leader of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Zappala's campaign announcement quoted Brady as saying he "comes from a great family tradition of highly respected lawyers."

Zappala's father, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr., appeared in television commercials this fall, endorsing Dougherty's brother, Philadelphia Common Pleas Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty, for the state's high court.

Marty Marks, who is Zappala's campaign manager, said Brady and Dougherty have been "encouraging" but haven't formally endorsed the candidate.

Dougherty says "it's way too early" to talk endorsements, but he wishes the Democrats would unify before the primary behind one candidate for attorney general and one candidate for state treasurer.

Brady was unavailable to comment about the primary - which is unusual.

Zappala's announcement also played up his record as district attorney since 1998, saying he is "largely considered one of the most experienced lawyers and prosecutors" to run for attorney general.

That sentence doesn't mention Shapiro, but it sounds as if it were written with him in mind.

Shapiro is a lawyer with a side job at a Center City firm. But most of his experience is in government, including stints as a congressional aide and as a state House member.

Wolf, who is expected to back Shapiro, helped him burnish his law enforcement cred, appointing him in April as chairman of the state Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

A memo from Shapiro's pollster last month said 61 percent of likely Democrats voters want an attorney general with "executive leadership experience," while 36 percent wanted an experienced prosecutor on the job.

That sentence doesn't mention Zappala, but it sounds as if it were written with him in mind.

A spokesman for Wolf declined to comment.

brennac@phillynews.com

215-854-5973 @ByChrisBrennan