Sen. Bernie Sanders will launch his first television ad of the 2020 cycle in Iowa, the campaign announced Tuesday.
The $1.3 million buy was made public hours after Sanders revealed that he raised more than $25 million during the last three months, the biggest quarterly haul of any Democratic candidate to date.
Sanders has been slumping in recent early state polling. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden led in a recent CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey of likely Iowa caucusgoers; that same poll put Sanders at a distant third. But the campaign is now looking to leverage Sanders’ massive and loyal small dollar donor base to hit the airwaves in an effort to turn the tide.
The ad was produced by Sanders’ in-house production team, as CNN reported last week, and will appear in 30- and 60-second versions beginning on Thursday, according to a press release. It will run for the subsequent two weeks.
In a preview provided by the campaign, the spot – titled “Fight For Us” – begins with a biographical note.
“Living in a family that struggled economically powerfully influenced my life and my values,” Sanders says in a clip taken from his campaign’s first rally, in Brooklyn, New York, where he grew up.
The ad then flips through a series of images showing Sanders marching with wage workers demanding a union, rallying for his signature public policy proposal, “Medicare for All,” and being arrested, as a young man in early 1960s Chicago, during a civil rights protest.
“Now, our country is at a turning point,” the narrator says as President Donald Trump and the white nationalist demonstrators from Charlottesville, Virginia, appear. “A dangerous demagogue tearing our nation apart, hard-working people betrayed by Trump, a health care system that makes enormous profits for drug and insurance companies, and a planet on the brink of a climate disaster.”
The ad also touts Sanders’ clashes with Wall Street, pharmaceutical companies – including a clip from his July visit to Canada with diabetes patients in search of affordable insulin – and his push to raise the minimum wage for employees at Amazon.
“In this moment, we need a fighter: Bernie Sanders,” the minute-long version of the ad concludes. “We know he’ll fight for us as president, because he always has.”
The question of when the campaign would go on television in Iowa had rankled some top aides to the campaign, who were pushing for an earlier debut. The ad’s release follows Sanders’ recent “Bernie Beats Trump” tour of the state, which centered on counties where voters flipped from backing former President Barack Obama to President Donald Trump in 2016.