The race for attorney general is on, with the Democratic Party nominating incumbent Eric Schneiderman for re-election Wednesday against Republican challenger John Cahill, who received GOP backing earlier this month.

Early polls suggest that while neither candidate is well-known, Schneiderman enters the race with a commanding 46-to-27 percent lead.

Schneiderman, 59, is a former state senator who was elected attorney general four years ago. He spent 15 years in private practice and as a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, where he handled complex litigation. He graduated from Amherst College and Harvard Law School.

Cahill, 55, is counsel to Chadbourne & Parke and co-founder and CEO of the Pataki-Cahill Group, a business development organization. He is a former chief of staff to then Gov. George Pataki, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation and partner at Plunkett & Jaffe. Cahill is a graduate of Fordham University Pace University School of Law, where he received both a law degree and a master’s in environmental law.

A poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University showed that both candidates are largely a mystery to voters, with 59 percent saying they don’t know enough about Schneiderman to form an opinion and 78 percent revealing that they are unfamiliar with Cahill. Among those who do have an opinion, Schneiderman is heavily favored.