Inslee super PAC hitting Iowa airwaves

A super PAC backing Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) will begin the first major television advertising blitz of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, just as Inslee starts his first trip to Iowa as a candidate.

The group, Act Now on Climate, will spend more than $1 million on television and digital advertising, a spokeswoman told The Hill. The television spots will run for two weeks, beginning in Iowa on Tuesday before broadening to national cable networks Wednesday.

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“Jay Inslee, a governor who transformed his state into a clean energy leader, with a bold vision for our future,” the narrator says in the advertisement, shared first with The Hill. The ad points viewers directly to Inslee’s website.

Inslee said last week he would run for president, becoming the first politician from Washington to launch a bid for the White House in more than 40 years.

Act Now on Climate was formed late last month by Corey Platt, a former top official at the Democratic Governors Association, and Christy Setzer, a longtime Democratic strategist. The group has raised more than $1 million so far, money it plans to plow into the early blitz.

Inslee could use the boost. Little known outside his state, he begins his campaign in an all-out sprint to qualify for the first Democratic primary debate, to be held on three NBC networks in June.

Candidates must have received at least $65,000 from at least 200 donors in 20 states — a bar Inslee’s campaign already has reached — and show at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls.

Inslee has not even been included in recent surveys, either nationally or in any of the early states. A Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, conducted in December by veteran pollster J. Ann Selzer, showed Inslee at 0 percent; 1 percent of likely caucusgoers said he was their second choice.

Just 19 percent of Iowa voters said they knew enough about Inslee to have formed an opinion, lower than any other candidate tested except Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and businessman Andrew Yang.

But the buy is the first significant super PAC advertisement of the campaign. Several of the front-running candidates have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on digital ads on platforms such as Facebook, but only one other candidate — former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyJulián Castro is behind in the polls, but he's finding a niche Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage MORE (D-Md.) — has spent money on television spots touting his candidacy.

A Republican source watching the advertising market said the super PAC had purchased a week of time so far on broadcast networks in two Iowa cities, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, totaling about $145,000, though more ads are likely to be placed the following week.

Inslee makes his first trip to Iowa on Tuesday on what his campaign is calling the Climate Mission Tour. He will make stops in Cedar Rapids, Ames and West Des Moines. Later in the week, he travels to Nevada and California.