With just more than a week until Pennsylvania voters elect their next state attorney general, the two candidates eyeing the post each had more than $1 million left to spend.
At this point, the amounts raised are significantly less than the totals raised by the two candidates in 2004, the last time there was an open race for attorney general.
Former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane maintained an edge in the money race, reporting $1.2 million on hand at the middle of last month in campaign finance reports filed with the state. Since then, however, the Democrat announced on her website that the campaign received a $300,000 boost in the wake of "outrage" over a pro-GOP group's ad, which Ms. Kane said made false statements about her involvement as a prosecutor in a rape case.
In total, according to the Kane website, she had raised $1.77 million since the primary election and had more than $1.4 million on hand. Ms. Kane's opponent, Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, ran unopposed in the primary and raised about $870,000 in the reporting period from May 15 to Sept. 15. Mr. Freed had just more than $1 million in the bank for the final six weeks of campaigning.
Mr. Freed has said publicly he did not sponsor the controversial ad. It was placed by the Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee. The ad alleges Ms. Kane let two men accused of rape off with a soft plea deal, which Ms. Kane has denied.
Political watchers said that TV advertisements' impact would likely be limited because neither candidates' coffers appear to be robust enough to finance a big buy.
In all likelihood, rather than a statewide surge of primetime advertising, the candidates will strategically target key, ticket-splitting audiences on affordable networks heading into the race.
The last state attorney general race featuring two fresh faces was in 2004, pitting now-Gov. Tom Corbett against Democrat Jim Eisenhower, who was then a partner at Ballard Spahr. Mr. Corbett had held the position before, however, after he was appointed in 1995 to complete the term of Ernest D. Preate Jr., who was forced to resign after being convicted of mail fraud charges.
In 2004, Mr. Corbett outraised Mr. Eisenhower, generating more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions and claiming the election -- but just barely, with about 50 percent of the votes. Mr. Eisenhower raised just shy of $2.5 million, according to campaign finance records. Mr. Corbett was re-elected in 2008.
According to a poll released by the Allentown Morning Call and Muhlenberg College last week, Ms. Kane was leading Mr. Freed 33 percent to 28 percent. About 37 percent of respondents were undecided.