Louisiana Democrat Katie Darling gives birth in viral ad for campaign vs. Steve Scalise
A digital ad from St. Tammany Parish mother and Democratic congressional candidate Katie Darling has gone viral, focusing on Darling delivering her newborn baby boy last month while expressing alarm about Louisiana's new abortion ban.
Darling, 36, who's never run for elective office, launched an unlikely bid last summer against powerful Republican Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise in the 1st Congressional District, which includes suburban New Orleans and part of what's known as the state's Bayou Country.
Her ad begins by featuring Darling's family on their farm with chickens and geese and transitions to her delivering her second child, newborn son Ollie, in a hospital with her husband John Huntington in the room and finally with the baby on her breast. Her 6-year-old daughter Remy is also featured in the ad.
In just a few hours after posting on Twitter Monday, Darling's ad had generated about 200,000 views and 1,700 retweets.
"I think there are a lot of folks who connect with having a family and dealing with the challenges we face in Louisiana - climate change, education and a severe abortion ban," Darling said in an interview with USA Today Network. "That's why the ad is resonating with so many people."
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None of her other posts had generated more than 60 retweets until now, but Darling said her team believed this video would make an impact.
"We were counting on it," she said. "We knew it would take a special message so we were thoughtful and mindful of the content and its importance."
Darling, who was previously the chief executive of a New Orleans rum distiller and now works as an account executive with a technology company in the education sector, said the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade last summer spurred her entry into the race.
"Reproductive rights and health is the foundation of my campaign," she said.
In her ad, Darling says, "These days I worry about storms that are stronger and more frequent because of climate change, about our kids' underperforming public schools and about Louisiana's new abortion ban, one of the strictest and most severe in the country."
"We should be putting pregnant women at ease, not putting their lives at risk," she continues in the ad.
Scalise, the Republican Whip in the House, is a heavy favorite in the race.
In his last campaign finance report, Scalise reported more than $8 million cash on hand, while Darling said she has raised less than $100,000 so far.
"I'm proud of the money that I've been able to raise, but it's never enough," Darling said. "I'm hoping this video helps with our fund-raising goal. We need national support to win this race."
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.