THE TWO Democrats competing in the April 24 primary election for attorney general spent Thursday bashing each other over pending state legislation both oppose.

      We have a theory about why.

      With 18 days to go until the primary, Pennsylvania finally has a Republican presidential primary worth paying attention to.

      And five guys are fighting for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate race in the fall.

      So, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Bucks County and former Lackawanna County Assistant D. A. Kathleen Kane are looking for ways to motivate Democratic voters to support them for attorney general.

      A controversial bill to require women to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion might stir those voters to action.

      Murphy and Kane oppose the legislation. Murphy says he wouldn’t defend or enforce the law if it passes and if he’s elected.

      He jumped on a Pennsylvania Cable Network interview with Kane last week, when she called Murphy’s stance a “dangerous proposition,” adding that the attorney general can’t “pick and choose” which laws to enforce.

      In a fundraising email Wednesday, Murphy’s campaign manager said Kane “pledged to defend Gov. Corbett‘s ultrasound bill.”

      Murphy stood by his claim Thursday, saying the issue could rally Democrats April 24. Kane called Murphy a liar trying to lure voters who support her.

      Kane insists the bill would be “completely unenforceable” if it becomes law.

      “He says that he supports the rights of women, but then what he is doing is lying to them to try to obtain their vote,” Kane fumed.

      Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia who follows Pennsylvania politics, said both candidates are trying to stir up their bases.

      “Democratic women will be activated by this issue,” he said.

      G. Terry Madonna, who conducts the Franklin Marshall College Poll for the Daily News, said the issue will certainly motivate registered Democrats. He added that single, divorced and widowed women tend to lean Democratic in Pennsylvania.

      The unknown candidate

      Joe Vodvarka is amazed.

      The self-described “nobody” from McKees Rocks, near Pittsburgh, will have his name listed on the April 24 Democratic primary ballot under the line for President Obama.

      Vodvarka, a semi-retired spring manufacturer who creates parts for everything from restored old cars to U.S. Army rifles, is running in the primary against U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

      Never heard of him? Vodvarka knows it. The five Republicans fighting for their party’s nomination get all the attention.

      Vodvarka took a break from passing out campaign literature in Pittsburgh on Thursday to explain his one-issue campaign.

      Vodvarka is all about fair trade, complaining that international spring manufacturers are allowed to dump their products in the U.S. market while using tariffs to keep products from this country out of their markets.

      Vodvarka ran briefly for the Senate in 2004 and again in 2010 before a challenge to his nominating petitions knocked him from the ballot. He used $14,911 in Social Security payments to fund his 2010 run and raised no money.

      Don’t look for him to run a rough race against Casey.

      “I never met Bob in my life but he’s a gentleman and a good man,” Vodvarka said before driving across the state to pass out campaign fliers in Allentown.

      House race’s nasty turn

      It wouldn’t be a campaign season in Philly without at least a couple of calls to 9-1-1.