Pete Buttigieg began a TV blitz in Iowa on Friday, starting his first serious paid advertising effort in the first caucus state.
Buttigieg’s new ad, which is running on TV and digital platforms, leans into his biography as a veteran and a mayor. In a 30-second voice-over, the South Bend, Ind., mayor says that in “today’s divided America, we’re at each other’s throats.”
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“Our rivers and oceans are rising. Health care costs are soaring, and our kids are learning active shooter drills before they learn to read,” Buttigieg says in the ad. “To meet these challenges and to defeat this president, we need real solutions, not more polarization.”
The campaign said the ad is backed by a “significant” buy. Advertising Analytics has tracked over $210,000 in Iowa TV ad reservations by Buttigieg so far over the next week and a half, a number that could go up as the campaign starts its major advertising effort.
This week, Buttigieg crisscrossed Iowa to open 20 new field offices, and he has added another 30 on-the-ground staffers, bringing him to more than 100 organizers in the state. The campaign also opened 12 new field offices in New Hampshire this week.
Buttigieg, who’s hovered in the mid-single digits in national polling for several months, is ramping up a more aggressive operation as the campaign heads into the fall. But Buttigieg still lags behind the three top-polling candidates in recent surveys — former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Last quarter, Buttigieg led the 2020 pack in fundraising, bringing in more than $24 million, and he’s now deploying those resources into the two early states.
Buttigieg also signaled Thursday night that the Democratic primary contest is entering a new phase, as candidates look to “contrast” themselves with the others on stage next week at the third Democratic National Committee debate.
“It is important for me to convey how I’m different from the others,” Buttigieg told CBS’ Stephen Colbert. “It’s not just a matter of style, it’s also a matter of approach. It’s why I’m not making the same promises that some of the candidates to my left are.”