PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Robert Flanders is going on the air with his first TV ad, beating Democratic incumbent Sheldon Whitehouse onto the airwaves by a week.

The commercial features an actor portraying Whitehouse who answers “climate change” to every question he gets asked – including what speed he was driving. “If climate change is your only issue, Sheldon Whitehouse is your senator,” the narrator says, before an elderly woman calls Whitehouse “kind of a doofus.”

Flanders spokesman Robert Ensign said the campaign is spending about $125,000 to air the spot on broadcast and cable channels over the next few weeks. The GOP challenger has also been investing in digital ads on Facebook and other platforms.

Whitehouse is seeking a third six-year term in November. The incumbent has amassed a large financial advantage: Whitehouse had $3.43 million on hand as of June 30, while Flanders had $384,000, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Whitehouse’s campaign is scheduled to start airing TV ads the day after Labor Day.

Ted Nesi ( covers politics and the economy for He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook