Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | 12:41 p.m.
Joy Longero Amodei was not a politician. But her face was almost as well known to Nevada voters as that of her congressman son after she appeared in a series of campaign commercials for him in 2011.
On Wednesday, Rep. Mark Amodei announced through his congressional office that his mother died Tuesday. She was 80.
Mrs. Amodei, a retired physician’s assistant and the mother of two from Northern Nevada, became the unintentional inspiration for a national campaign trend among Republicans after her son featured her in commercials aimed at debunking his critics on Medicare.
She made her first cameo in a 30-second spot in August 2011 in which her son promises “to support and improve the [Medicare] program.”
“You’d better, Mark. I’m counting on you,” she tells her son.
The ad resonated well enough that Mrs. Amodei returned later that month to star in a sequel commercial in which she directly refuted criticisms that Amodei’s support for House Budget Chariman Paul Ryan’s budget was effectively backing a plan to end Medicare.
Her amateurish but earnest performances were for many the centerpiece of Amodei’s campaign.
“Paul Ryan wants to meet my mother,” Amodei told the Sun in an interview.
on his first day in Congress as Nevada’s representative for the 2nd Congressional District.
Later, when GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney named Ryan his running mate in the summer of 2012, one of the first people Ryan trotted out to vouch for him was his own mother, 78-year-old Betty Douglas, in an attempt to silence his Medicare critics a la Joy Amodei.
Douglas, however, never anchorrf any Romney-Ryan campaign commercials.
Mrs. Amodei is survived by her son, Mark, and his sister, Denise Amodei Boyden.