WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ first television ads started airing Sunday morning in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, a $2 million buy that will last for 10 days.

“Thousands of Americans have come out to see Bernie speak, and we’ve seen a great response to his message,” said Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver. “This ad marks the next phase of this campaign. We’re bringing that message directly to the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire.”

The ads give voters a fuller look at the Vermont senator’s biography, as a longtime fighter against injustice and inequality, his humble upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, and his attendance at Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963. There’s his work as mayor of a Vermont city and in Congress and his pledge to take “on Wall Street and a corrupt political system,” and mention of the 1 million contributors to his campaign and footage of his large rallies around the nation.

The ads are also a not-subtle dig at the Clinton political brand. “People are sick and tired of establishment politics, and they want real change,” Sanders says in the spot.

Sanders is competitive with Clinton in the first contests of Iowa and New Hampshire, and his fundraising has been stronger than expected – more than $40 million raised, mostly online. He’s still drawing large crowds: A college forum at George Mason University in Virginia on Wednesday filled a small field house with 1,700 students, as people at 300 colleges watched online.

Sanders is trying to expand his coalition beyond white liberals, college students and working-class supporters. But he has a major deficit with black voters, who are crucial in South Carolina, which follows New Hampshire on the primary calendar. Attracting support from Latinos, too, is a challenge. They are influential in Nevada, the fourth contest, suggesting he’ll need the first two states to provide him with a sling-shot. Sanders has a history anchored in in the civil rights movement, but a political career rooted in mostly white Vermont.

“We’ve got to begin to build bridges to people now, sooner rather than later,” said Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior adviser. “But a lot of what we’re hoping to do will be premised on early success in Iowa and New Hampshire.”


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