Washington (CNN) – Eliot Spitzer is unleashing a pair of new television ads Wednesday in the New York City comptroller's race framing himself as an anti-establishment populist, a theme he has been hitting on the campaign trail since unexpectedly jumping into the race last month.
Both of the 30-second ads are titled "You," and portray Spitzer as a champion of working people standing up against special interests, corporations and Wall Street – "an independent voice," as Spitzer's campaign has taken to describing the former governor and attorney general.
"Those corporations that Eliot Spitzer caught underpaying their low-wage workers don't want him as comptroller," a narrator says in one. "And those Wall Street firms he caught cheating millions of investors don't want him either. And neither does the political establishment desperate to maintain its power. Which just leaves you, the people he's always fought for."
Another version of the spot presses a similar message using stirring music and text, laid over images of New Yorkers.
Spitzer, who is financing his own campaign, has had the television airwaves to himself for roughly two weeks in an effort to define the campaign on his own terms before commercial breaks become swamped with ad buys from the city's many mayoral candidates.
The ads out Wednesday are his third and fourth of the campaign, after his debut ad apologizing for the prostitution scandal that led to his 2008 resignation in Albany, and a Spanish-language ad released this week.
His opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, has yet to go on the air, though a pair of outside groups have been formed by business, labor and women's groups with the express purpose of derailing Spitzer's bid.
But Spitzer is trying to turn that opposition into an advantage by portraying himself as a populist insurgent. There are also fissures in the establishment supposedly lining up for Stringer: the Civil Service Employees Association, New York's largest public sector union, endorsed Spitzer on Tuesday.
Spitzer's early television blitz and his name recognition appear to be paying dividends among Democratic primary voters, according to polls. In the most recent, a Marist poll released last week, Spitzer led Stringer 48-36 among likely voters, and he held impressive leads among African-American and Hispanic voters, crucial voting blocs in the Democratic primary.
Spitzer also held a 12-point lead among female voters. The primary is Sept. 10.
At a fundraiser on Tuesday evening, Stringer was asked about his deficit in the polls by a reporter from the web site Capital New York.
His response: "I'm winning the primary. Hello!?"