Wisconsin governor candidate brushes aside criticism for breastfeeding during campaign ad

Posted at 1:14 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 13:22:00-04

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A democrat running for governor of Wisconsin, who breastfed her daughter during in a campaign ad, is brushing aside criticism and said the response has been "overwhelmingly positive," according to WITI.

While shooting an ad about her work to ban a toxic chemical in baby bottles, Kelda Roys' 4-month-old daughter started to cry and her husband handed the baby to her.

Roys consoled her daughter,  then breastfed her as the camera crew kept shooting. In an interview with WITI, she said it was an unscripted moment.

"When the clip came back and it had the nursing in it, I said, 'You know, let's keep it in there. Why not?' Roys said. "People are ready for candidates they can relate to."

While Roys said men and women have responded positively to the ad, her campaign released a fundraising email to supporters that showed more negative comments on Facebook.

"Stay home with your baby and stay out of politics," said one person.

"Sick (expletive) exploiting her baby," wrote another.

Roys, who served two terms in the state Assembly, said such attacks are common for women in public service.

"You know what's funny? As a woman who has been in public life - I was the head of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and I was in the Assembly - I'm used to that kind of really disgusting, sexist language," said Roys.

The ad went online a day after a Marquette University Law School Poll showed 92 percent of voters didn't know much about Roys, putting her at the top of that category among nine democratic hopefuls for governor.

Roys also got zero percent support when democrats were asked who they would vote for in the primary, the worst of the nine candidates polled.

Roys said she's not concerned that the large number of candidates is making it difficult for any of their messages to get through to voters.

"Some candidates are probably not going to make to the ballot, and that's fine. There are candidates out there campaigning, traveling the state, raising money, reaching out the voters and there are other campaigns who are not, and that will become clear," said Roys.

All of those candidates are seeking the opportunity to face two-term incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the November election. The primary is in August.