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Baldwin Highlights Mother’s Addiction Struggle in New TV Ad

Baldwin calls her funding efforts for the opioid crisis “just a start”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., discusses her childhood in a new campaign ad. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., discusses her childhood in a new campaign ad. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is discussing her mother’s struggle with drug addiction and mental illness in a new personal campaign ad that also highlights her work to combat the opioid crisis.

In the new 60-second spot, titled “Knock,” the Wisconsin Democrat recalls returning home from school and fruitlessly knocking on the front door because her mother had passed out.

“My mother had a drug abuse problem,” Baldwin says directly into the camera. “She struggled with addiction to prescription drugs her whole life. I had to grow up fast — very fast. So when I see the opioid crisis that’s wrecking so many Wisconsin families, all I can tell you is I’ve been there. I know how hard this fight is.”

The opioid epidemic has hit Wisconsin as well as states across the country. Baldwin says in the ad that 15 people overdose each week in the Badger State.

Baldwin said her work to secure funding for Wisconsin to combat the opioid crisis was “just a start.” The ad references her work on the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan medical research bill that became law in December of 2016.

“I’m Tammy Baldwin and I approve this message because this fight hits close to home,” she concludes in the ad.

The ad will air on broadcast and cable in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire and La Crosse. The campaign declined to comment on the size of the ad buy. The television spot is Baldwin’s fifth so far, and will be the only ad currently on the airwaves for her campaign.

Last week Baldwin opened up for the first time about her mother’s drug addiction and struggle with mental illness. She was diagnosed as bipolar, according to the Associated Press. Baldwin told reporters she did not speak publicly about her mother’s struggle until after she died in August, to protect her mother’s privacy. But since then she has decided to share her story, drawing inspiration from families who are coping with the opioid epidemic.

Baldwin is a top target for Republicans in 2018, as she is one of 10 Democrats up for re-election in a state that President Donald Trump carried in 2016. He won Wisconsin by 1 point.

It’s not yet clear who Baldwin will face in November. State Sen. Leah Vukmir and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson are battling for the GOP nomination, and the primary is Aug. 14. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilt Democrat.

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