It's only August, but since voters can vote in mid-September, everything is starting early -- including the negative attacks.By Jon Delano

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The presidential race is not the only big contest on the ballot this fall.

Pennsylvania elects three statewide officials, including state attorney general.

It’s only August, so what’s with these campaign ads from Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Heather Heidelbaugh?

Since voters can vote by mail in mid-September, everything is starting early, and that includes the negative attacks.

Attorney General Shapiro often makes the news in his job, but now supporters of Republican challenger, former Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh, are on the attack against him.

Commonwealth Leaders Campaign Ad: “Shapiro never tried a case in a courtroom. No wonder he bungled a drug bust that let 20 dealers back on our streets.”

That brought a quick response from Shapiro’s campaign.

Shapiro Campaign Ad: “The ads are paid for by people backing insurance companies’ candidate hack lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh.”

“For him to call me a hack lawyer is ridiculous. It’s false,” Heidelbaugh told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday. “He never practiced law. He went from law school to state rep.”

A member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers with 36 years of experience, Heidelbaugh says Shapiro is just deflecting from his own lack of experience.

“If you Google best female lawyers, you will find my picture right there with Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” she says.

Reached by telephone, Jon Delano asked Shapiro, “Is Heather Heidelbaugh a hack lawyer?”

“Look, Jon, being Attorney General is about being the lawyer for the people, not the powerful interests,” says Shapiro. “When you take on the powerful interests, you’re going to have people who want to fire back at you.”

Shapiro said he did not want to get into a political back and forth, but added about Heidelbaugh, “She’s the candidate of the insurance companies and special interests, and that’s not what we need in the Attorney General’s office.”

That’s a charge that Heidelbaugh denies: “I don’t represent insurance companies.”

November is already heating up in August.