What Iowans Are Hearing From The Candidates In TV Ads

By Elizabeth Meyer

January 8, 2020

With 26 days to go until caucus-goers have the first say in who will be the Democratic nominee for president, candidates are revamping their efforts on Iowa airwaves.

For U.S. senators, the possibility of getting pulled from the campaign trail in January to participate in a Senate impeachment trial is a real threat, increasing further the importance of advertising here.

Sen. Cory Booker, for example, told Starting Line in an interview Tuesday his team was upping the ad budget to compensate for his presence in D.C. as tensions heighten with Iran.

Here’s an update on the candidates with new ads in Iowa (you can see our earlier roundup here) and what messages they’re pushing to caucus-goers in the final month:

Cory Booker

“We will rise” is a familiar chant at the New Jersey senator’s events, and the title of his latest Iowa ad shares that theme.

His latest six-figure ad buy landed Monday on Iowa TV networks.

“Rise” encompasses the themes of Booker’s presidential campaign and his “commitment to bringing people together to ignite our spirit of common purpose, and inspiring us to not only win this election, but to take on the biggest challenges in our country that are leaving so many people and so many communities behind.”

The 30-second spot features a diverse group of Americans as Booker talks about the nation’s “common pain” at a time in history when some want “to tear us apart.”

“We face our generation’s great choice, whether to break into factions or rise in common purpose,” he says.

[inline-ad id=”3″]

Pete Buttigieg

The new Monday ad buy from the Buttigieg campaign will run in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, the Quad Cities and Sioux City media markets. It aligns with the former Indiana mayor’s imagery of “that first day the sun comes up in this country and Donald Trump is no longer president.”

“Windshield” zeroes in on “the guy who’s up early scraping the windshield on his way to the first of his jobs” and “the single mom who is at work keeping an eye on the clock because when her kids are out of school she is worried about whether they’re going to be OK.”

The ad features a visual plug for Buttigieg’s campaign website and invites the audience to learn more about “An Economic Agenda For American Families: Empowering Working & Middle Class Americans To Thrive” — the title of his economic platform.

By this point in the race, most candidates are skipping introducing themselves in an ad, and instead honing in on a concise and snappy pitch they hope will stick with caucus-goers.

[inline-ad id=”4″]

Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar’s one-minute ad started airing Jan. 3 in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first primary state voting eight days after the caucuses.

The Minnesota senator has visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties and is banking, in part, on her Midwest roots to deliver her a strong showing on Feb. 3.

“What It Takes” leads with a pitch to voters that she is the candidate who can “take the fight to Donald Trump” because she was successful as Minnesota’s senior senator in communities Trump won, and her ability to pass legislation in the Senate.

“Our job now is to elect someone who will fix the mess that Donald Trump created and take on the challenges facing America,” Klobuchar says, talking directly to the camera. “Like the high costs of prescription drugs, rebuilding our infrastructure, and tackling climate change.”

[inline-ad id=”0″]

Klobuchar has told Iowans she is a progressive but pragmatic politician who won’t make promises she can’t keep. She hopes to serve as an alternative to more liberal candidates like Senate colleagues Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but also as another choice for moderates who like former Vice President Joe Biden.

“If you feel stuck in the middle of the extremes in our politics and you’re tired of the noise and the nonsense, you’ve got a home with me,” she says.

Joe Biden

Beginning in November, the Biden campaign launched a $4 million media campaign in Iowa to put ads up on TV and online.

Today, the campaign launched three digital adds, running on Hulu, YouTube, and Instagram, about Biden’s record against the NRA and work on gun safety legislation.

The 30-second version of “Classroom” features a fourth grade teacher talking about the drills she and her students have to endure to prepare for a gunman at school.

“When I found out that Joe Biden was going to run for president, I was excited because I trust Joe Biden with gun issues,” teacher Jayne Lyons says. “He will fight the NRA and he knows how to get things done.”

Following the success of Biden’s online ad “Laughed At,” which racked up nearly 12 million views, according to the campaign, a TV version was also launched last month.

The ad shows world leaders snickering and joking when talking about the president at a NATO summit early in December.

The video pieces together clips from NATO, as well as other instances where world leaders reacted with apparent embarrassment to his actions.

“The world sees Trump for what he is,” Biden says, in the 30-second ad, “dangerously incompetent and incapable of world leadership.

At his campaign events in Iowa, Biden often brings up his ability to step into the White House “without training wheels” and negotiate competently with world leaders because of his longstanding relationships.

[inline-ad id=”5″]

Elizabeth Warren

Beginning Jan. 10, Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be up on Iowa airwaves the new ad “Ambassadors.”

The 30-second spot focuses on Warren’s disdain for the influence of money in politics, particularly when it comes to high-dollar donors who are awarded coveted spots in presidential administrations, like Ambassador Gordon Sondland was in the Trump Administration.

“Republicans and Democrats have been rewarding big donors with cushy ambassadorships like this for years,” Warren says. “It’s Washington corruption at its worst. When I’m president, that stops.”

“Top Priority” currently is on TV here, and will be replaced by “Ambassadors” tomorrow. “Top Priority” says that Warren, as president, would be “fighting corruption in Washington” first and foremost.

“I’m not doing big-dollar fundraisers, I’m not selling ambassadorships to donors, I’m not cozying up to super PACs, and my first priority as president will be to pass the biggest package of anti-corruption reform since Watergate,” Warren says.

Bernie Sanders

“For All,” launched in December, was Sanders’ sixth and latest Iowa ad.

The 30-second spot hits all of Sanders’ major themes, including universal health care, implementing a “livable wage” and the end to “tax breaks for billionaires.”

He also takes a swipe at “wealthy campaign contributors,” an issue dividing the presidential field, particularly on the debate stage, along the lines of those who hold high-dollar fundraisers and candidates who have sworn off courting the wealthy.

Andrew Yang

“Most Iowans live paycheck to paycheck,” Yang says, in “Powerful,” a TV ad launched here late in December.

Yang talks about his “solution as big as the problem: every American over 18 receives $1,000 a month, paid for by making big corporations pay their fair share.”

Universal Basic Income was the idea — not unique to him, Yang will point out — that launched his presidential campaign and continues to bring him notoriety in the crowded Democratic field.

[inline-ad id=”1″]

Medium Buying reported Wednesday that former Maryland congressman John Delaney will have an ad run on CNN in Iowa next week to coincide with the Jan. 14 debate in Des Moines.

Tom Steyer’s latest TV ad from December focused on his “No. 1 priority” of addressing climate change.

“It’s a state of emergency and I would declare a state of emergency on day one,” Steyer says in the ad, which featured footage of him on the debate stage talking about climate change.

[inline-ad id=”2″]

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is not campaigning in Iowa, but has blanketed the airwaves with ads, reportedly spending more than $170 million on TV and digital advertising nationwide. According to the New York Times, Bloomberg will spend “at least $10 million” on a 60-second ad to run during the Super Bowl, the night before Iowans go to caucus.

ABC News also has reported that Warren spent $18,000 for a 30-second spot in the Des Moines media market to run on Super Bowl Sunday, and Sanders spent $15,000 in Omaha, which extends into Council Bluffs.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 1/8/2020



Local News

Related Stories
Share This