The election for Pennsylvania attorney general, now 11 weeks away, is getting chippy.
Clout told you last week the Republican nominee, Pittsburgh trial lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh, took the first shot on television with a campaign ad including a not-so-subtle dig at incumbent Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s widely known ambition to run for governor in 2022 (which would be in the middle of his second term if he wins reelection on Nov. 3.)
Shapiro, a Montgomery County Democrat, returned fire this week with his own first television ad, knocking Heidelbaugh as a “hack lawyer” who is using negative ads to distort his record on behalf of special interests like insurance companies.
That prompted the Republican Attorneys General Association — part of a coalition of political action committees that engage in races for state legislatures, judicial posts and row offices — to accuse Shapiro of being “clearly misogynistic” for calling Heidelbaugh a hack. Does RAGA plans to air television ads to help Heidelbaugh? The group declined to comment when Clout asked.
Heidelbaugh, who trails Shapiro in campaign cash, is getting backup from the Commonwealth Leaders Fund, a political action committee founded and funded by conservative activists. That PAC, which gave her $50,000 in June, has already spent $144,000 airing TV ads supporting her, according to the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics. It has booked a total of $435,000 worth of air time in the race. Its first ad decries Shapiro as “a career politician already looking to run for governor.”
Heidelbaugh has spent almost $95,000 of the $162,000 in air time her campaign has booked, according to Advertising Analytics. Shapiro has spent almost $130,000 of the $309,000 he has booked.
The Shapiro-Heidelbaugh race is shaping up to be the most interesting statewide contest down ballot of the presidential campaign this year. And Shapiro, always eager to build a national profile, is announcing his plans Tuesday to join legal actions “to protect” the U.S. Postal Service amid concerns that President Donald Trump is gutting the agency to damage mail voting.
Shapiro will also join a conference call Tuesday with Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey to discuss “Trump’s sabotage” of the USPS.