PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democrat Nellie Gorbea is joining the TV air war in the race for governor.

Gorbea’s campaign confirmed Thursday she has begun reserving broadcast time to start airing campaign ads, with the first spot set to start airing on Tuesday.

“We are very excited to continue to tell our theory of the case as to why Nellie Gorbea is the best candidate for the job,” Dana Walton, Gorbea’s campaign manager, told 12 News. She declined further comment.

FCC documents show Gorbea is spending $41,125 to put ads on local broadcast stations during her first week on TV. Her campaign had $896,000 on hand as of March 31, the least among the major Democratic candidates, according to R.I. Board of Elections filings.

The second-term secretary of state is one of four Democrats challenging incumbent Gov. Dan McKee, who took office last year when Gina Raimondo left for Washington. The others are former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, former Secretary of State Matt Brown and community activist Luis Daniel Muñoz.

The decision by Gorbea to go on the air comes after Foulkes — a first-time candidate with the most campaign cash of the group — has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last month running TV ads introducing herself to voters and starting to lay out her policy goals.

A 12 News/Roger Williams University poll, conducted the week before Foulkes went up on TV, showed McKee and Gorbea neck and neck at 25% and 23% respectively, but with 37% of Democratic primary voters undecided. The other three candidates were all in single-digits.

No other public polls have been released in the race.

McKee’s campaign has not yet said when he will begin airing his own campaign commercials, but he is not expected to do so for some time yet, in part because he is already a regular presence on TV in his day job as the sitting governor.

The leading Republican candidate for governor, Ashley Kalus, was the first to start airing TV ads when she went up in April. She has remained on the air since then with a series of ads promoting her candidacy and touting her agenda.

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