PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Helena Foulkes announced Monday she will begin a TV advertising campaign this week, becoming the first candidate in her party to go on the air with just under four months to go before the primary.

The former CVS executive’s 60-second spot is titled “Big Things” and will start airing Tuesday on broadcast TV stations and cable channels. It moves briskly through Foulkes’ biography before summarizing her career at the Woonsocket-based pharmacy giant, then outlining her policy priorities.

“We need leadership who understands how to get our state back on its feet,” Foulkes says in the ad.

Foulkes’ campaign also said it is holding an event for supporters Monday at 6 p.m. at Blu Violet, on the rooftop of the Aloft Hotel in Providence, “to view the ad and drive volunteer efforts for the final 120 days before the primary.”

Foulkes is one of three Democrats challenging incumbent Gov. Dan McKee in the party’s Sept. 13 primary, along with Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, former Secretary of State Matt Brown and community activist Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Foulkes, a first-time candidate, has been fundraising aggressively since entering the primary last fall and had $1.5 million in her campaign account as of March 31, the most of any candidate. McKee ranked second with just under $1.1 million, followed by Gorbea with $896,000. Brown and Muñoz were far behind.

Foulkes hired a new ad-maker this spring, tapping veteran Rhode Island political strategist Tad Devine, who had been working for rival Democrat Seth Magaziner before he left the governor’s race to run for Congress. She had previously been working with media consultant Mark Putnam, who made the commercials for Gina Raimondo’s 2014 and 2018 gubernatorial campaigns.

The advertising announcement by Foulkes’ campaign comes just a day before WPRI 12 and Roger Williams University are set to release the first public poll of Democratic primary voters conducted in Rhode Island this year. The survey will come out at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Foulkes is the second candidate for Rhode Island governor to go on the air with a TV ad this year. Republican Ashley Kalus has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars airing a series of commercials since late April in a bid to increase her name recognition.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook