Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is the first presidential candidate to run TV and radio ads in Minnesota. The campaign announced that the ads will start running Thursday night through the Feb. 5 caucuses.
The Obama campaign is characterizing the ad buy as "introductory" and significant. They would not release the size of the buy, but MPR News has found that 200 ads will run on six TV stations at a cost of $93,500. The Obama campaign also said the ads will run on 11 radio stations across the state.
The ads focus on Obama's efforts to end the war in Iraq, his focus on the environment and his focus to change the tone in Washington.
No other presidential candidate has bought ad time in Minnesota, but the campaigns for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards have made rate requests to the TV stations.
Hillary Clinton's Minnesota director Buck Humphrey said the Clinton campaign hasn't decided if they'll run ads in Minnesota. Humphrey also said he's hopeful Clinton will make a stop in Minnesota before the caucuses but won't know more until after Saturday's South Carolina primary.
Humphrey made those comments after the campaign announced 50 new supporters. The campaign held news conferences in Duluth, Rochester and St. Paul.
The Democratic candidates are focusing on Minnesota because the party will hold a preference ballot that will determine the allocation of delegates at the National Convention in Denver. The Minnesota Republican Party will hold a non-binding straw poll on Caucus night.
Meanwhie, a new poll shows that Arizona Sen. John McCain is the only Republican outpolling Obama and Clinton in Minnesota. The Survey USA poll polled 550 registered voters earlier this week. In head-to-head matchups, Clinton and Obama fared better in the poll than Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. Survey USA did not ask which candidate Republicans and Democrats want to get the nomination.