|Member of the Wisconsin Senate|
from the 5th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Jim Sullivan|
|Succeeded by||Dale Kooyenga (elect)|
|Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly|
from the 14th district
November 5, 2002 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Scott Walker|
|Succeeded by||Dale Kooyenga|
April 26, 1958
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Education||Marquette University (BSN)|
University of Wisconsin–Madison (MSN)
Leah Vukmir (née Papachristou; born April 26, 1958) is a member of the Wisconsin Senate as well as a nurse. A Republican, she represents Wisconsin's 5th District. She previously served in the Wisconsin Assembly. Vukmir was the Republican nominee in the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Wisconsin, running unsuccessfully against incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin.
Early life, education, and career
Vukmir was born Leah Papachristou in Milwaukee on April 26, 1958, the daughter of immigrants from Greece. She graduated from Brookfield East High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 1976. Vukmir received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Marquette University in 1980, and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983. She was a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Vukmir was first elected in November 2002, succeeding Scott Walker (R), who was elected in a special election as Milwaukee County Executive. She was the ranking member of the Assembly’s Committee on Health and Health Care Reform. She was also a member of the committees on Public Health, Education Reform, Education and Criminal Justice.
Vukmir announced on June 25, 2009, that she was challenging incumbent Democratic State Senator Jim Sullivan for the 5th district seat in 2010. The race attracted large amounts of out-of-state campaign contributions, with 7% of Sullivan's donors and 14% of Vukmir's donors being residents of Wauwatosa. On November 2, 2010, Vukmir defeated Sullivan for reelection. She was succeeded in her Assembly seat by fellow Republican Dale Kooyenga.
Vukmir opposes medical marijuana and has said that there is no medical reason to use it. At a public hearing in 2009, she was booed after accusing fellow legislators Jon Erpenbach and Mark Pocan of using dying cancer patients to further a secret agenda of legalization.
Vukmir is on the Board of Directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States. In June 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy sued Vukmir, contending she had violated Wisconsin's open records law by not turning over records related to her involvement with ALEC. Vukmir responded by claiming she could not be sued while in office. The lawsuit was settled in 2014, with the state of Wisconsin agreeing to pay $15,000 and Vukmir turning over e-mails from her personal Yahoo! account that she said she had withheld due to technical issues.
In December 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice released a report criticizing a secret state investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. During the course of the investigation, the state had seized the personal emails of 35 Republican lawmakers, including Vukmir. Included among the emails was correspondence between Vukmir and her daughter that included private medical information. Some of the emails were placed into a folder on state computers marked "opposition research." Vukmir wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal criticizing the investigation, which she said was politically motivated and "un-American."
2018 United States Senate election
During the primary campaign, Vukmir ran ads in which she attempted to link Baldwin with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11 attacks, calling them "Team Terrorists". PolitiFact rated the claims as "Pants on Fire" wrong.
On May 12, 2018, Vukmir secured the endorsement of the Wisconsin Republican Party at the state convention with 73 percent of the vote, besting former Marine Kevin Nicholson. Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus praised what he termed Vukmir's proven track record of advancing a conservative agenda.
|Democratic||Jim Sullivan (incumbent)||33,702||47.69|
- Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2009-2010 Blue Book. Madison: Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2009, p. 29.
- "Senator Leah Vukmir". Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Matt Hrodey (September 22, 2016). "How Leah Vukmir Built a Fortified Position for Herself in the State's Conservative Battleground". Milwaukee Magazine.
- Ricardo Torres, Vukmir pleads her case to the voters, Journal Times (August 3, 2018).
- "2017 Wisconsin State Representatives". www.legis.state.wi.us. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
- Wispolitics Vukmir Announces Run
- Maley, Mark (August 25, 2010). "Vukmir, Sullivan getting cash from everywhere". Wauwautosa Now. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- "Sides square off in state Legislature over medical marijuana". Winona Daily News. December 15, 2009.
- "Wisconsin politician accuses medical marijuana supporters of secret agenda". Duluth News Tribune. December 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012.
- "Board of Directors". American Legislative Exchange Council. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Marley, Patrick; Jason Stein (September 12, 2013). "Sen. Leah Vukmir tries to sidestep open records suit". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
- Stein, Jason (March 28, 2014). "State to pay $15,000 in settlement of suit against Vukmir". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Marley, Patrick; Stein, Jason (December 7, 2017). "John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker gathered millions of pages of records from Republicans". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Pasque, Lisa Speckhard (December 10, 2017). "State Sen Leah Vukmir is 'certain' the collection of her private messages was 'politically motivated'". Capital Times. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Vukmir, Leah (December 10, 2017). "An Attack on My Privacy in Wisconsin's Political War". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Glabuer, Bill (September 7, 2017). "Leah Vukmir enters Republican U.S. Senate race in bid to unseat Democrat Tammy Baldwin". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Kertscher, Tom (May 18, 2018). "Pants on Fire for attack that, without evidence, links U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin with 9/11 mastermind". politifact.com.
- Bauer, Scott (May 12, 2018). "Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate Vukmir Wins Party Endorsement". US News.
- Greenwood, Max (August 14, 2018). "Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary". The Hill.
- "Election results: Wisconsin and Milwaukee-area fall primary election". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
- Profile, committees and bills at the Wisconsin State Legislature
- Leah Vukmir official campaign site
- Profile at Vote Smart
|Wisconsin State Assembly|
| Member of the Wisconsin Assembly
from the 14th district
|Wisconsin State Senate|
| Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 5th district
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin