It’s on.

As in, on your TV.

The race to be Iowa’s next governor has reached televisions across the state.

The first campaign ad to hit Iowa’s TV airwaves in the 2018 election cycle comes from the gubernatorial campaign of Fred Hubbell, a Des Moines businessman and one of seven Democrats seeking the party’s nomination.

The 30-second spot is part of a statewide, six-figure ad buy, the Hubbell campaign announced this week.

Titled “Stand Strong,” the ad features Hubbell talking about his decision during the 1980s to stand by his commitment to women’s reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood, for which he served on the mid-Iowa board, despite threats from abortion opponents to protest Younkers, for which Hubbell served as chairman.

“Some people said, ‘Well, maybe you should get off the board of Planned Parenthood. We don’t want to hurt our business,” Hubbell says in the campaign ad. “Charlotte (Hubbell’s wife) and I talked about it and we decided, look, I’m on the Planned Parenthood board for a reason and I want to stay on the board for that very good reason. They provide an excellent service in our community, including all around the state of Iowa.”

That he is the first gubernatorial candidate to advertise on television is not surprising given Hubbell’s ability to at least partially self-fund his campaign.

Although Hubbelll’s campaign claims it also has been successful with campaign donors. In July, just a week after making his candidacy official, Hubbell’s campaign claimed he had already raised more than $1 million.

The campaign said that haul does not include any of Hubbell’s personal money or donations from political action committees, or PACs. Those likely will not be independently verified until January, when candidates must report campaign fundraising to the state.

Although the field of gubernatorial candidates is expansive --- seven Democrats and three Republicans --- it is unlikely all will collect enough resources to advertise on television, which will be critically important in a race in which most voters will not be familiar with most of them.

Hubbell, obviously, will be on TV. Gov. Kim Reynolds started the race with more than $1 million in her campaign account from her time as lieutenant governor. She’ll be on TV.

So will, it seems likely, Republican Ron Corbett. The Cedar Rapids mayor said his campaign raised nearly $1 million in its first weeks.

The campaign finance reports due in January will better illustrate the fundraising progress being made by the entire field, and thus which candidates we can expect to see joining Hubbell on TV.

The primary election is in June and the general election in November 2018.

Boulton's rural roadtrip

Post-2016 election conversations among Democrats: We need to do a better job reaching out to rural voters and talking to them where they live.

Nate Boulton: Copy that.

Boulton, one of the seven Democrats running for governor, this week announced a seven-day, 28-stop campaign tour he’s calling his “Hometown Values Tour.”

With the exception of a stop at the Leopold Center at Iowa State University in Ames, none of those 28 stops are in Iowa’s biggest cities. Instead, Boulton is visiting places like Britt, Cherokee, Anamosa, Greenfield and Elkader.

Many Democratic leaders have been saying they need to make a concerted effort to reconnect with voters in rural areas of the state where they experienced significant electoral losses in 2016.

Boulton appears to be taking that advice to heart.

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government for Lee Enterprises. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net.

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