The Democratic ad wars in Massachusetts have begun. Both Rep. Stephen Lynch and Rep. Ed Markey are out with their first ads in the special election for Secretary of State John Kerry's old Senate seat.

Lynch highlights his humble beginnings and background as an ironworker in his ad, while Markey promises to take on the National Rifle Association.

"I grew up in public housing," Lynch says in the 30-second spot that will begin airing on Tuesday. "Mom was a postal clerk, dad was an ironworker. They taught me everything. Then I became an ironworker for -- 18 years."

Markey's ad begins with a clip of Charlton Heston declaring at an NRA conference that his gun will have to be pried from his "cold dead hands." He says he's working with President Obama on gun regulations and promises to "keep standing up to the gun lobby."

Markey is the preferred choice of Senate Democrats' campaign arm, and the candidate polls show is the clear frontrunner at this point in the race. The primary is scheduled for April 30.

A Democrat tracking the ad buys said Markey is spending about $260,000 to air his ad, while Lynch is spending about $217,000 to air his spot. Those are not huge buys, but with seven weeks remaining until the primary, neither side was expected to go really big with the first wave of ads.