Editor’s Note: It’s an election year and that means lots of political commercials. Ad Watch is an occasional Civil Beat series in which we help you understand what you’re seeing and hearing when it comes to campaign messages from Hawaii candidates.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa really wants voters to know she comes from humble beginnings.

In her first TV spot in her bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Hanabusa reminds viewers that she grew up in Waianae and that she maintains the values she learned growing up in a working class family.

The ad dovetails nicely with the congresswoman’s recent one-minute radio spot that conveys an identical message — that Hanabusa is a woman of the people.

First, take a look at the ad, which is titled “Obligation.”

The ad is high-quality and professional, which should be expected of someone running for higher office. It’s certainly a welcome addition to her campaign’s multimedia page, which includes many videos from her previous run for office.

Hanabusa is all smiles in the TV spot as she visits her hometown, driving past her family’s gas station and chatting up the workers at a grocery store.

The slack key guitar in the background adds to the local vibe Hanabusa is trying to convey.

This is a different approach than the one Schatz has taken with his ads.

Like her radio spot — which has been playing in Hawaii for two weeks — there’s no mention of where the congresswoman stands on the issues. Instead, she focuses on the intangibles that she hopes will resonate with undecided voters in the Aug. 9 primary.

She also reiterates her pitch to lower and middle class voters by highlighting her modest upbringing in Waianae.

“We didn’t have many privileges,” Hanabusa says in the ad. “But I learned from my parents, family and neighbors the values of Hawaii, how to work hard and do your best with every opportunity you have.”

As we’ve said before, this is a different approach than the one Schatz has taken with his ads.

He’s mainly focused on issues, although he hasn’t been shy about showing off his family.

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