(CNN) - Call it another example of how crucial Iowa is to Tim Pawlenty's hopes of winning the Republican presidential nomination.
The former Minnesota governor became the first GOP White House hopeful to go up with television commercials in Iowa, the state that holds the first contest in the presidential caucus and primary calendar, a source close to Pawlenty confirmed to CNN Tuesday.
The ads started airing Wednesday and will run through July 3 in the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Omaha, Ottumwa, Rochester, and Sioux City media markets, with the campaign spending just under $50,000 to put the commercials on TV. News of the ad buy was first reported nationally by Politico.
Pawlenty appears in the 30-second spot pointing to his conservative record in the more liberal Minnesota. He says he cut spending, took on the government unions, appointed conservative judges and passed health care reform without a mandate.
"A lot of candidates will come to Iowa and say the same things, the question is have they done it," Pawlenty says in the ad. "If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington."
"Governor Pawlenty is well positioned to unite conservatives and do well in both Iowa and New Hampshire. The soon-to-be-unveiled TV ads will introduce the Governor to Iowans about why he is the candidate with the strongest record and best results, not rhetoric," Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant tells CNN.
Pawlenty appears to be concentrating much of his time and efforts in Iowa. He formally announced for president at an event in May in Des Moines.
Earlier this month his campaign started sending out mailers to Iowa voters. In the mailers, Pawlenty touts his blue collar roots, saying "I know the American dream because I've lived it." It also highlights his theme that "Washington is broken" and "leadership is about telling the truth."
CNN has also confirmed that the candidate will spend about 15 days in the Hawkeye state next month, in advance of an important straw poll in Ames, Iowa on August 13.
Pawlenty needs a strong finish in next February's Iowa's caucuses in order to win the GOP nomination. He could face some serious competition from fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann. The three-term congresswoman is expected later this month to formally declare her candidacy for the White House at an event in Waterloo, Iowa, where she was born.
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