To no one's surprise, Rahm Emanuel started out the new year quickly, buying yet another television spot in the Chicago mayoral race. The new ad, "Looking Out," is his third thus far, another slickly-produced, high-quality video following up on his announcement spot "Tough," and his second ad, "Tenacity."
So far, Emanuel has completely dominated the airwaves in the mayoral race, with no other candidate airing television ads.
Until yesterday, that is, when an opponent of Rahm's took to the airwaves for the first time.
(Scroll down to watch the new ad.)
And this one is a bit more surprising, in that the ad doesn't come from Gery Chico, who just announced he has raised $2.5 million in the race so far. It doesn't come from Carol Moseley Braun, who, despite her financial troubles, has the nominal support of many leaders in the black community. And it doesn't come from Miguel del Valle, another crowned front-runner.
Instead, the spot was bought by Dr. Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, a community organizer who grew up in Cabrini-Green. In the ad, Watkins hammers away at career politicians, attacks the parking meter deal and portrays herself as a populist outsider hoping to reform the political culture.
It's not quite as slick as Rahm's ads, but it has a distinctly local charm to it -- despite its incorrect assertion that "crime is at an all-time high." The city actually experienced its lowest murder rate since 1965 last year.
Still, Watkins, unlike all but one of her opponents, is on the air. According to her campaign, the buy was for roughly $50,000, and the spot will air for two weeks on MSNBC, CNN, TNT and USA. The campaign has also spent $50,000 on radio ads, according to press secretary Sara Sedlacek.
Watch Watkins's new ad: