The first TV ad from either side in the 2014 gubernatorial election will come from Republican Gov. John Kasich and begin airing today, several sources told The Dispatch.
The 60-second commercial, titled Deliver, will air for one week. Sources estimated Kasich spent about $70,000 for Columbus media market air time and at least $350,000 statewide, though that total could be higher.
A spokeswoman for the Kasich campaign would not confirm or deny the ad, but it is expected to be a biographical piece for the incumbent that will include a reminder of Kasich's blue-collar roots.
His father was a Pittsburgh-area mail carrier, hence the title. Kasich has been telling stories of his childhood in speeches for months, and his "son of a mailman" routine dates back at least a couple of decades.
Kasich's early foray into the 2014 ad campaign would signify the financial advantage he has built over likely Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald. When previous fundraising totals were announced in January, Kasich had $7.9 million on hand, which is an advantage of more than $6 million cash over FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive.
With polling suggesting that 70 percent of the electorate didn't know enough about FitzGerald to form an opinion of him, the fear among Democrats was that Kasich would use his cash advantage to define FitzGerald in a negative way. Instead, Kasich has chosen to go up first with a spot reinforcing his own background.
Kasich is jumping onto the TV screen about three weeks earlier than his predecessor did in 2010, but their strategies are different. When Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland aired his first campaign ad on May 4, 2010, Strickland criticized challenger Kasich's votes for trade deals as a congressman and for working for the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers after leaving Congress in 2001.