(CNN) - In his first television ad for the special U.S. Senate race in New Jersey, Newark Mayor Cory Booker highlights his record and tells voters he doesn't run from challenges, but "toward them."
"Washington ducks our problems," he says, looking directly into the camera. "I won't."
Booker touts dropping crime rates in his city since becoming mayor, as well as growth in new businesses and better public schools.
"I've proven that by bringing people together, even with big problems, we can make big progress and improve people's lives," he says. "Now I'm asking to be your senator."
The 30-second spot will run on cable outlets statewide starting Wednesday, according to his campaign.
Booker announced his bid a little more than two weeks ago for the special election held to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term, which ends January 2015.
Following Lautenberg's death earlier this month, Republican Gov. Chris Christie appointed an interim senator, Republican state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, to hold the seat until the special election in October. Contestants will compete in party primaries on August 13.
An election to a full six-year term will take place in November 2014.
A Quinnipiac University poll released June 10 indicated Booker was the overwhelming favorite Democrat in the race. A little more than half - 53% - of Democrats in the state supported the Newark mayor, with 10% backing Rep. Rush Holt, and 9% backing Rep. Frank Pallone. Nearly a quarter were undecided.
A Rutgers-Eagleton survey released the same day showed similar numbers.
In the largely Democratic state, polls also show Booker topping Republicans in hypothetical matchups.
- CNN's Kevin Bohn, Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.