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Baldwin, Vukmir

Tammy Baldwin, left, and Leah Vukmir

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir on Wednesday referred to her Democratic opponent, Tammy Baldwin, as “Princess Painkiller” — a dig at her handling of a complaint about how a veterans hospital dispensed painkillers.

But the taunt provoked immediate backlash by supporters of Baldwin, whose mother battled a prescription drug addiction.

Vukmir, a state senator from Brookfield, tweeted the nickname for Baldwin, D-Madison, along with a cartoon image of the senator. Baldwin’s campaign manager Scott Spector called the tweet “despicable.”

Baldwin has spoken openly this year about her mother’s mental health issues and drug addiction that led to Baldwin being raised by her grandparents.

In the tweet, Vukmir said Baldwin “failed our vets at the VA when ‘Candyland’ was running amok.”

“Candyland” was the nickname given to the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Vukmir has said Baldwin was slow to respond to a whistleblower report of the over-prescription of drugs there.

A Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday showed Baldwin with an 11-point lead over Vukmir.

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