Heather Heidelbaugh’s first television commercial as the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania attorney general takes aim at the not-so-distant political ambitions of her incumbent opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro.
“I’ll keep our community safe, keep politics out of the office, and serve my full term,” Heidelbaugh says to the camera, sticking the landing on that last phrase.
Shapiro is widely expected to run for governor in 2022 when Gov. Tom Wolf’s second term wraps up.
How widely? Clout asked Wolf about that future race for governor on Election Day last year. “That’s my guy there,” Wolf said, nodding toward Shapiro, who declined to comment about 2022.
Heidelbaugh, a Pittsburgh trial lawyer, has staffed her election squad with veterans of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s campaigns. Toomey is seen as mulling a bid for the Republican nomination for governor in 2022.
Any hits Heidelbaugh lands on Shapiro in the 12 weeks between now and the Nov. 3 general election could, by proxy, help Toomey in a race two years from now. Her campaign said it’s spending $200,000 to air the ad on television in the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre media markets.
Shapiro’s camp, asked if he has ever promised to serve a full second term, responded: “The promise AG Shapiro makes is to wake up every day focused on protecting people over powerful special interests. There are too many important battles to wage right now to be speculating about what might happen in politics years from now.”
Shapiro holds a significant cash advantage, reporting $4.14 million in his campaign account as of June 22, while Heidelbaugh had $208,871.
Heidelbaugh is getting a boost from the Commonwealth Leaders Fund, a political action committee founded and funded by conservative activists. The PAC, which gave her $50,000 in June, has booked $435,000 worth of air time to support her, according to the ad tracking firm website Advertising Analytics.
The rest of Heidelbaugh’s ad serves as an introduction to voters of a candidate who lacks strong name recognition. Her personal story is about overcoming early struggles in life.
“My dad left us when I was just eight,” she says. “I know what its like to grow up hungry, to go to bed cold, to get knocked down and to get back up. I understand the problems people face. And I know how to help.”