Vukmir Responds to “RINO” Allegations

Yesterday Media Trackers reported that The National Club for Growth labeled U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir a “RINO” in a fundraising email covering senate races in several states. Vukmir is generally seen as one of the most conservative members of the state legislature. Media Trackers Director of Communications Jerry Bader interviewed Vukmir to get her reaction to the National Club for Growth labeling her a RINO, or Republican in name only, in a fundraising email:

Vukmir responded:

I think it’s rather laughable that anyone would call me a RINO, anyone who does clearly doesn’t understand Wisconsin and is out of touch with Wisconsin. I mean, are we going to call Governor Walker a RINO as well? We have all worked together on one reform after another since 2010 when we took control of both houses and when Scott became Governor. So this is something that I think most Wisconsin voters, the discerning voters, know my record they know i’m a proven consistent conservative and it’s ridiculous, but it is a way for the Club for Growth to raise funds. It’s dishonest, but it’s the nature of campaigns.

Vukmir pointed out the irony of being labeled a RINO after years of being vilified by the Left in Wisconsin for her staunchly conservative convictions:

“I’ve taken a lot of flack for that and I’ve worn it as a badge of honor. I came to the legislature on a mission to get things done. You know my record, I’ve been a fighter from the get go, I entered politics as an angry momma bear and I was concerned about education and my daughter’s public school it wasn’t serving her well, and I’ve been fighting ever since I got elected.


That’s what I got elected to do, that’s what my constituents expect me to do, and we have been surrounded by an amazing team to be able to do things like Act 10, Right to Work, dismantling the GAB which was my legislation, I helped with reforming John Doe, we have worked very hard to protect the unborn, protecting second amendment rights, this list goes on and on. I’ve been involved in the school choice movement, I have pushed many of those bill forward, I introduced the special needs voucher program that finally got adopted and passed into law last session.


So Wisconsin voters have been there with us through all of these battles and remember as those liberal snowflakes whined and protested and stormed the capital, and Wisconsinites know that I’m a fighter, a true conservative, and I don’t think they are going to buy this BS that’s coming from the Club for Growth.


Club For Growth’s labeling of Vukmir suggests that the Republican primary could devolve into the mudsling that defined the 2012 primary to pick a challenger to Baldwin. Vukmir, however, spoke of sticking to her message and her focus on beating Tammy Baldwin:

“I’m disappointed that this is the manner in which their campaign is going. I certainly am going to continue my focus, the focus for me is beating Tammy Baldwin, and I think I am the best person to beat Tammy Baldwin. I have a proven track record as a consistent conservative, I believe the contrast between Tammy and me couldn’t be greater and I look forward to the day where I am in a position to debate her on issues that clearly she is out of touch with the mainstream, and most recently with healthcare, signing on to Bernie Sander’s medicare for all, really Tammy?


I look forward to debating her on that issue as a nurse that has continued to work in the healthcare arena my entire career even as a member of the legislature, I certainly have an understanding of the real world aspect of what happens in healthcare and certainly wish I could’ve been one of those extra votes in the US Senate, because that’s what we are really after here, this is all about shoring up that US Senate so we’re not falling down on 2-3 votes that are continually voting no, republicans who are voting no. If I get to Washington, when I get to Washington, people will know how I’m going to vote on those very important issues, it’s vital we follow through on the agenda that was promised to the voters in November.”


Among debating healthcare, Vukmir also said she will hold Baldwin responsible for her role in the Tomah VA Medical Center prescription opioid scandal:

I’m a military mom, my son’s a first lieutenant in the United States Army and he’s currently in army ranger school, so between being a military mom and being a nurse understanding what is involved in prescriptive authority, the fact that she looked the other way and just ignored that whistle-blower is just unconscionable and I plan on holding her feet to the fire on that every single day of the campaign.


The full interview with Leah Vukmir can be found here:


*In light of Dick Uihlein’s contributions to a Super Pac supporting Kevin Nicholson’s Senate run, we feel it necessary when covering the Senate race to disclose that we receive funds from the Ed Uihlein Foundation for the Media Trackers project.*