LAFAYETTE, La. —A digital ad from a Louisiana mother and Democratic congressional candidate has gone viral, focusing on the woman delivering her newborn baby boy last month while expressing alarm about the Bayou State's new abortion ban.
Katie 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.
Darling, her husband and their 6-year-old daughter live in St. Tammany Parish in northeast Louisiana more than 50 miles north of New Orleans.
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 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.
Louisiana ranks 50th in crime, 48th in education, and 46th in health care. I’m running for Congress to stop this race to the bottom because our children deserve better. pic.twitter.com/OfFQHuPTzU
— Katie Darling for Louisiana (@katie4louisiana) October 3, 2022
"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 the 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."
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This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Louisiana democrat Katie Darling gives birth in campaign viral video