Last month, Democrat Vicky Cayetano became the first candidate for governor in 2022 to air a campaign ad on commercial television.

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This month marks the first TV ad from a lieutenant governor wannabe: Sylvia Luke.

It’s a good move to get out in front of voters now with the primary election just five months away. Luke is seeking to define herself in a busy but not entirely well-known field — fellow Democrats Jill Tokuda, Keith Amemiya, Ikaika Anderson and Sherry Menor-McNamara.

While she may be very well-known to folks who pay attention to the Hawaii Legislature, many residents likely know little about Luke, who is chair of the House Finance Committee.

According to the 30-second spot titled “Sylvia Luke’s Roots,” Luke is an immigrant from South Korea blessed by a close-knit family and public school teachers who taught her that challenges can be overcome by working together with others.

Luke, who voices her own ad, tells viewers that she brought the “working together” principle to create programs for “a better Hawaii.”

Luke then says directly into the camera, “And that’s how I will work as your lieutenant governor. My name is Sylvia Luke. I would be grateful for your support.”

Watch the ad:

The purpose of Luke’s first ad is to introduce herself, and to do so simply with colorful images and soothing music. On that score the ad — produced by Rock Salt Media and placed by Olomana Loomis ISC — succeeds.

The ad is silent on the nature of the “programs” she created at the Legislature to benefit Hawaii. After 10 terms in the House of Representatives, however, she will no doubt share details on the campaign trail and perhaps in future advertisements. And her opponents will likely point out where she fell short.

Still, the Luke campaign is off to a strong start. She raised more money than her opponents in the first campaign disclosure report of the year. She also has the benefit of appearing frequently in news reports, as she is the only Democrat in the LG race currently in elected office and the Legislature is smack dab in the middle of the 2022 session.

On Wednesday, Luke also received the endorsement of the state’s largest public-sector union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association. It followed previous endorsements from the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the Hawaii State Teachers Association (of note: Luke’s TV ad includes footage of all three of her public schools) and two blue-collar unions.

Unions are useful in rallying members to sign-wave and vote for their preferred candidates. But it is TV commercials that bring candidates into the living rooms of the larger community.

To that end, the Luke campaign paid close to $30,000 to air the “roots” commercial this month and into April on KGMB/KHNL (“Blue Bloods,” “Entertainment Tonight”), KITV (“Oscars: Countdown,” “American Idol,” “Sam Choy’s In The Kitchen”) and KFVE (“March Madness Elite 8,” “Merrie Monarch Auana”).

That’s a wide range of programming, indicating that a lot of people will learn a little about Sylvia Luke without having to leave their chairs or sofas or laptops.

The campaign also has a second TV ad currently airing, this one 15 seconds in length and titled “Join the Movement.”

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