Today, Republican challenger for State Treasurer, David McRae, launched his first ad against incumbent Republican Lynn Fitch.

Fitch and McRae will meet in the primary in about 7 weeks, but this ad is noteworthy for several reasons. First, it’s the first real ad of any of the statewide candidate to run in any significant volume. He essentially has “the air to himself” for now, and there’s a lot of value in having the spotlight before other candidates drown out the attention span. The campaign maintains that he’ll stay funded and be substantially on TV full-speed from here until the primary.

Second, it’s a really good ad that’s well-produced by folks that know what they’re doing. From a horserace perspective, a good challenger ad (1) gives a viewer something to get mad about and (2) gives them a way to fix it. This ad does both. McRae makes the general assertion that Fitch has been somewhat extravagant in her spending for items like office furniture and self-serving items. Whether that assertion will stick in voters mind is to be determined, but my sense is that the volume of the spend behind the ad combined with how early the ad is airing will put Fitch in somewhat of a defensive posture on at least that issue. McRae’s strategy seems to be to “paper-whip” Fitch using items pulled from the state transparency website. How that ultimately resonates with Republican primary voters is anyone’s guess.

Bottom line – this looks like the only Republican statewide primary that has real life to it and is proving me right from five months ago when I said this one will be the one to watch.