Political News

Joe Manchin's work on opioid abuse touted in new ad from Democratic super PAC

Posted May 11, 2018 12:48 p.m. EDT

— Sen. Joe Manchin's efforts to address opioid addiction are the main focus of a new ad from Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC that is getting more involved in the West Virginia Senate race following Tuesday's primary election.

The new ad, which is part of a $450,000 buy, marks the super PAC's latest involvement in what is expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. National Republicans feel they dodged a bullet when voters rejected ex-con coal baron Don Blankenship's race-baiting, conspiracy-theory laden campaign and nominated the state's attorney general Patrick Morrisey to face Manchin in November.

Trump won West Virginia by 42 percentage points in 2016.

The ad, which will begin running Saturday, is a positive spot on Manchin's efforts to pass Jessie's Law, a provision focused on combating the opioid epidemic that was included in the $1.3 trillion spending bill that President Donald Trump signed earlier this year. The law requires hospitals to display a patient's history of addiction.

The law was named after Jessie Grubb, a West Virginia woman who fought her addiction and got sober before a doctor prescribed her an opioid after undergoing surgery for a running injury. Grubb later died of an overdose.

David Grubb, Jessie's father, tells his daughter's story in the emotional 60-second spot.

"We had told the doctors Jessie is a recovering addict. Eight times in her records that was recorded, and when they discharged her they gave her a prescription for 50 oxycodone," Grubb says. "The police found Jessie and she had died the night before. I don't think that we've ever really recovered from that."

Grubb goes on to say that one of the first calls he received was from Manchin.

"He just felt like that sort of thing should never happen again, and Joe said we've got to do something," Grubb says. "Jessie's law requires hospitals to prominently display a history of addiction. When it came down to what really matters in life -- Joe was there."

Opioids figure prominently in the 2018 race, especially considering how hard West Virginia has been hit by the epidemic.

Manchin has featured the issue prominently throughout his campaign, using it to display how he is willing to work with Trump when needed.

But Republicans, eager to oust Manchin from office, are hoping to seize on the political shift in the state and nationalize the race by casting the Democrat as nothing more than another vote for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats.

Morrisey, as attorney general, has made fighting the state's opioid epidemic a priority, including filing suit against McKesson Corp, one of the nation's largest drug distributors. But during the primary, Blankenship and Rep. Evan Jenkins attacked the now-Republican nominee for connections he and his wife, Denise Henry Morrisey, had to lobbying for major pharmaceutical companies.

Morrisey has rejected those attacks, but they persisted throughout the primary and the latest ad from Senate Majority PAC signals they will continue into the general election.

"As the work to end the opioid epidemic continues, West Virginian families need Joe Manchin and his record of results on the front lines," said Chris Hayden, spokesperson for the super PAC. "Joe's work in passing Jessie's Law is proof that he is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic and will stand up to anyone that gets in his way."