Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's conviction clears the way for voters to focus on the two men seeking to replace her as the state's top prosecutor.

Labor Day, after all, is the traditional beginning of the mad sprint to the general election for statewide races in Pennsylvania.

But the Kane case - a Montgomery County jury found her guilty on Aug. 15 of leaking secret grand jury material and then lying about it - will loom large once more.

Kane is set to be sentenced on Oct. 24, just 15 days before the Nov. 8 general election.

Both candidates - Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro and Republican nominee John Rafferty - have run a relatively sleepy campaign across the summer as Kane's trial captured the headlines.

If, as expected, they use the next two months to reset the conversation, Kane is still likely to be a topic of debate. The question will be: Which candidate can convince voters that he can restore confidence in a badly damaged office?

Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Commission, says leading the state's third largest county gives him the administrative edge to restore order as attorney general.

"I think the Attorney General's Office needs an executive to turn things around," said Shapiro, who also served as a state representative.

Rafferty, a state senator from Montgomery County in his fourth term, knocks Shapiro for never having worked as a prosecutor.

"You have to have someone with a working knowledge, outside of a law book, of the Office of the Attorney General," said Rafferty, who served from 1988 to 1991 as a deputy attorney general.

Shapiro and Rafferty must compete for voter attention in an election season dominated by a presidential election, in which Pennsylvania appears to be a battleground state, and a very competitive race for the U.S. Senate.

Both candidates predict that they will have the resources needed to compete. But there is plenty of competition for that money.

"I think all of us on the under-ticket realize how much is going out for the presidential and senate races," Rafferty said. "Those folks are grabbing whatever dollars they can."

Name recognition will likely be a deciding factor in the race. That means television advertising, which requires significant fund-raising.

Shapiro previously held the upper hand in fund-raising but used most of his cash to compete in a three-way primary election. He moved $1.2 million into his campaign account earlier this year from a political action committee he used to run for county commissioner.

He raised $1.8 million more and then spent all but $7,375 of it by mid-May, according to a campaign finance report he filed on May 26. That report included $114,241 in campaign debt.

Rafferty, who became the first candidate in the race when he declared in June 2015, started 2016 with $33,178 in the bank and then raised just under $400,000 this year. He spent $283,943 of that and had $148,404 in the bank as of May 26.

Rafferty's candidacy has been supported by the state Republican Party, which also gave him $93,275 in in-kind contributions for printing campaign material.

The candidates do not have to disclose the current state of their finances until Sept. 27.

Shapiro won 47 percent of the April 26 Democratic primary vote to defeat Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.

Rafferty, by comparison, took 64 percent in the Republican primary, defeating little-known former prosecutor Joe Peters.

Just over 1.5 million Democrats voted in their primary, more than a quarter of a million more than the nearly 1.3 million Republicans who voted.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by 917,452 registered voters as of last Monday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Of the state's 8,377,928 voters, Democrats account for 49 percent while Republicans are 38 percent and independents and smaller political parties are a combined 13 percent.

brennac@phillynews.com

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@ByChrisBrennan