/Michael Bennet releases new TV ads in Iowa

Michael Bennet releases new TV ads in Iowa

Michael Bennet

Sen. Michael Bennet joins three other presidential candidates who are already airing TV ads in Iowa. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Michael Bennet is out with a pair of TV ads in Iowa this week, an effort to build up his poll numbers and name recognition in the first caucus state.

The Colorado Democrat didn’t appear on the primary debate stage last week, after failing to reach the criteria set by the Democratic National Committee. But Bennet is doubling down on his commitment to Iowa with a seven-figure TV and digital ad push over the next several weeks, starting Tuesday.

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This week, ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics found that Bennet’s campaign is up with $190,000 on TV and $250,000 on digital ads. The campaign confirmed that it expects to release a third ad, as well as airing the ads in New Hampshire soon.

The first ad, “Most,” casts Bennet as a pragmatic problem-solver “tackling tough problems” as superintendent of Denver public schools and “leading efforts for comprehensive immigration reform and making Washington work for the people again.”

The second ad, “Truth,” leans on a Des Moines Register editorial, which said Bennet “pounds some truth” into the Democratic primary.

“The truth is, a health care plan that starts by kicking people off their coverage makes no sense. We all know it,” Bennet says, addressing the camera. “Before we go and blow up everything, let’s try this: Give families a choice — keep your health care or join a public option.”

“It’s that simple, and it’s the fast way to cover everybody,” Bennet concludes.

Bennet joins three other presidential candidates who are airing TV ads in Iowa: Former Vice President Joe Biden, entrepreneur Tom Steyer and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Other 2020 contenders, including Sen. Kamala Harris and former Rep. John Delaney, have previously aired TV ads in the state.

But Bennet, who gained viral attention for a rant on the Senate floor in January 2019, has struggled to break out of the large Democratic primary field. He’s averaging less than 1 percent in national polling, according to RealClearPolitics.

His campaign argues that Bennet’s late entry into the race, coupled with the DNC’s debate thresholds, hamstrung his bid. Bennet, for his part, has regularly criticized the DNC for what he says is its “undemocratic” approach to winnowing the field by requiring candidates to register at 2 percent in four DNC-approved polls and receive donations from 130,000 individuals.

“Caucus-goers will decide who our nominee is, not the DNC,” said Shannon Beckham, a Bennet spokeswoman, in a statement shared with POLITICO. “Unlike some of his colleagues, Michael is not just laundering money to Facebook to spend $70 for every $1 donation.”

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