Senator Nate Boulton is returning to the early themes of his gubernatorial run in a new TV ad that starts running on Saturday. Back is the “stomp/clap” music that gave his campaign kick-off announcement video an energetic feel last year, as well as the senator’s “greatest hits” videos from the past legislative session.
“Some folks say I get a little fired up when it comes to working families,” Boulton says in the new ad as clips of his speeches from rallies and in the Senate chamber play. “I fought til dawn against Republican attacks. I fought for healthcare and for education. I’m running for governor because Iowa values haven’t changed, we just need leaders to fight for them again.”
This ad, entitled “Fired Up,” is Boulton’s fourth TV ad of his campaign – he began airing commercials statewide about three weeks ago.
Boulton’s ads have been noteworthy for their focus on the candidate’s personality and building an sense of excitement around him, as opposed to straight issue-based ads. Most have contained references to the collective bargaining debate and his third ad talked some about education funding, but overall those are worked into a personal narrative. His first ad cast him as “a new generation of leadership” and his endorsers praise his abilities in another.
As Democratic candidates become more uniform in their policy views, finding ways to stand out on your personality and character becomes increasingly important. And a big concern for Democrats after the 2016 election was nominating candidates that could actually excite and motivate the base. Boulton’s campaign has been looking to project that energy ever since his campaign announcement.
That may be what helped him rise to a good position in the latest Iowa Poll released by the Des Moines Register earlier this week. He fared the best of the five serious Democratic contenders against Kim Reynolds (though just one point better than Fred Hubbell), trailing just four points behind her in a head-to-head match-up. He also performed the best among Democrats, winning 81% of their vote.
Reminding voters – especially union members – of the major legislative battles of last session may help get Democrats worked up again. The Statehouse hasn’t seen anywhere near as large of demonstrations or rallies as it did during the 2017 session, at least not yet. Still, there will be plenty of chances for Boulton to rail against Republican legislation on the Senate floor again this year.
by Pat Rynard