The first of this year's gubernatorial TV ads are hitting the airwaves, as both Republican hopefuls Gresham Barrett and Henry McMaster unveiled new spots this week.

Both 30-second ads are autobiographical in nature, but they also make clear both candidates' displeasure with President Barack Obama.

The ad for McMaster, currently the state's attorney general, notes his appointment as U.S. attorney by President Ronald Reagan and his fight against the federal health care bill that Obama recently signed into law.

"As our attorney general, McMaster challenged Obama's health care takeover and defended our state's rights," the narrator says.

Barrett, the state's 3rd District congressman, also cites his "A" rating from the National Taxpayers Union. "We don't want this federal nanny state," he says in the spot. "We're going to do things different. We're going to keep taxes low. ... We're going to empower the individual, not the government."

They face Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and state Rep. Nikki Haley, R-Lexington, in the GOP primary. Democratic candidates include state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and state Sens. Robert Ford of Charleston and Vincent Sheheen of Camden.

Both parties' primaries are June 8. The winners face off Nov. 2 in the general election.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771 or