A couple of weeks ago Ian Prior, campaign manager for Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty, told me Doherty's race against Congressman David Cicilline would be won or lost in October.
Fitting, then, that the Doherty campaign would release its first ad attacking Providence mayor-turned-Congressman Cicilline on his handling of the capital city's finances - and his now infamous declaration that the city was in "excellent" fiscal condition - on October 1.
For political junkies, this is a familiar argument. We've been stewing in it for more than a year-and-a-half. But the ad, released today, is the first direct, paid attack on Cicilline by a political opponent. This is, in a way, the real beginning of the race.
Or is it?
The Cicilline camp is, in a way, hoping that it won the race in September, when the Congressman established his Democratic bona fides against primary rival Anthony Gemma and began to frame the race not as a referendum on his character, but as a battle over Democratic-friendly issues like Medicare and women's health. This was also the month that President Obama began to pull into a real lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney and, perhaps, put the stakes of the November election in sharper relief.
September v. October. We'll see who wins.