- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign released a new ad on Thursday focused on the opioid crisis.

The spot, set to run on both television as well as social media and other digital platforms, features the Lybert family, who founded a nonprofit that educates people about opioids after their son became addicted.

“I was addicted for years. But we stuck together as a family and we fought back,” said Tyler Lybert, who is featured alongside his parents and sister.

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The family said Mr. Walker’s H.O.P.E. agenda, which stands for Heroin, Opiate, Prevention and Education, made them want to support his re-election efforts. The governor signed the bipartisan legislation into law to help combat the ongoing crisis in his state. He also announced $7.6 million will be put toward the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration in the state for a second year, and launched a task force to study the issue and make further recommendations.

“We’ve seen too many families devastated by addiction. Together, we’ve passed bipartisan legislation to reduce opioid abuse and increase drug treatment — to save lives,” Mr. Walker said in the ad.

The Walker campaign released their first ad of the cycle on Tuesday, which focused on the governor’s efforts toward job training programs, in what is expected to be a series of ads on his record.

Although the launch is nearly six months ahead of Election Day, it’s two months later than Mr. Walker’s first ad in his 2014 re-election campaign.

Democrats say it is still an early start for campaign ads and a sign of panic from the incumbent governor. A Marquette University Law School poll in March showed voters aren’t convinced by any of the Democratic candidates, however, and many still don’t know enough about any of the numerous candidates to have an opinion. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers received the highest favorability of 20 percent, but 48 percent said they hadn’t heard enough about him.

Cook Political Report and University of Virginia Larry Sabato’s rankings both have the race as “leans Republican” still. Mr. Walker is known as the first governor to survive a recall election in 2012, and he won his seat again in 2014 by about 6 points.

A typically blue state in presidential years, Wisconsin went red in 2016 for President Trump by a very narrow margin, making it one of the top states for Democrats to target in the upcoming elections.

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