(CNN) – It's only March of 2013, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is going up with the first TV commercial of his 2014 re-election bid.
The Kentucky Republican's campaign confirms to CNN that they'll begin running a television spot starting Thursday. The campaign characterizes the spot as positive and that it will have "a female focus to it." The campaign says they're spending six-figures to run the commercial for a week in the Louisville and Lexington markets, which cover most of Kentucky.
"Leader McConnell has a great story to tell and does so much for Kentucky. Every out-of-state liberal group with an axe to grind wants to tear Mitch down, but we're going to make sure we communicate our positive message to every voter in the Commonwealth," McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told CNN.
Going up with TV ads more than a year and a half before an election is rare in congressional contests, especially for incumbents. When McConnell's counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, went up with commercials around a year before his November 2010 re-election, the move made political headlines.
Earlier this year the McConnell campaign put out a web video which criticized activist actress Ashley Judd, the only Democrat to date to very seriously consider a challenge to McConnell next year.
McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, is bidding next year for a sixth term in office.
"The public polling shows that Mitch McConnell is the least popular, most vulnerable incumbent in the country, and now he is starting to panic," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee communications director Matt Canter told CNN. "McConnell has become a walking, talking embodiment of everything that is wrong with Washington."
Politico was first to report news of the ad buy.