Former Governor Terry Branstad's campaign announced today that two television commercials will begin airing statewide on Monday, April 5. That's two days before the first debate between the three Republican candidates for governor and about nine weeks before the June 8 primary.
The Branstad campaign will run this 60-second ad called "Ready", which first aired during UNI's NCAA basketball game last week, and this 30-second ad called "I Know Iowa." The "Ready" ad intersperses Branstad's campaign promises with testimonials about his character and talents. I can't embed the 30-second ad here, but it features footage of Branstad with lots of different Iowans, as well as his campaign bus driving toward the state capitol building. The candidate himself does the voice-over for the shorter ad, and here's my rough transcript:
Iowans are genuinely fearful and concerned, but also, people are hopeful. They know that we have the ability to come back. They've seen it done before. We can create 200,000 jobs. We can increase family incomes by 25 percent. We can reduce the size and cost of government, and we can make our education system the best in America. I love this state, and I love the people of this state, because I know given the opportunity, Iowans will always exceed expectations.
Both commercials convey the central theme of the Branstad campaign: he can lead Iowa out of tough times and back to greatness. I don't see substance backing up Branstad's campaign promises, but for the most part Iowa journalists are giving him a free pass. I question whether his Republican opponents will be able to make an effective case against him. Branstad probably will be the only candidate advertising on television for several weeks. It's not clear that Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts have the resources to run even two weeks of commercials statewide. Vander Plaats has a stronger potential grassroots network given his experience with Mike Huckabee's campaign and the support of the Iowa Family Policy Center, but Roberts seems to be competing for the same conservative voters Vander Plaats is targeting.
What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers?