Far-right extremist Leah Vukmir ‘seriously considering’ taking on Baldwin

Louis Weisberg, Staff writer

Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir says she was seriously considering running for U.S. Senate before U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy announced he would not be a candidate.

And with the news that he’s out, she is moving forward with evaluating whether to get in. But she says there’s no timeline for when she will make a final decision.

Vukmir lives in Brookfield and has been in the state Legislature since 2003. She is one of several Republicans considering a Senate run next year against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

An evangelical Christian, the state senator has a history of anti-gay rhetoric and collusion with Wisconsin Family Action, the state’s leading opponent of same-sex marriage and reproductive freedom.

In 2010, a year which saw a spate of headline-grabbing suicides by LGBT teens who’d been bullied, Vukmir conspired with WFA to derail the Legislature’s attempt to add anti-bullying language to a school security bill. Julaine Appling, who heads WFA, fiercely opposed the change, because it sought to protect all students from persecution, including LGBT students.

In a Jan. 12, 2010, e-mail, Appling told Vukmir that she was just “checking in” about some testimony that her organization presented characterizing the bullying provision as “dangerous.”

Appling gave her “guarantee” that the provision was being promoted by pro-gay groups, by which she meant it was insupportable.

Vukmir responded that she was “open to your suggestions.”

Months later, she voted against the legislation both in committee and on the Assembly floor.

Vukmir went on to defeat Democratic state Sen. Jim Sullivan in November 2010’s tea party wave elected Scott Walker as governor.

Vukmir, who seems to keep a low profile, stands on the far right of most, if not all, issues. A matchup against Baldwin would be a dual of opposites.

Vukmir has worked to expand Wisconsin’s voucher school program and to eliminate state regulations on almost everything that’s opposed by corporations, including pollution. She was awarded a 10 percent rating by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters for the 2011–12 legislative session.

For that same session, she received a zero rating from the League of Humane Voters.

Vukmir opposes government transparency and has supported bills to get rid of government accountability and watchdog groups.