As expected, Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) announced she is running for U.S. Senate in 2018 against Democrat Tammy Baldwin, the incumbent U.S. Senator. Vukmir, who has been in the state legislature for 14 years, will first have to win the Republican primary. Vukmir has strong conservative credentials and has been working on increasing her statewide presence for months, when she wasn’t working on the state budget as a member of the Joint Finance Committee.
Provided Vukmir can raise money (not always easy for those making the jump from the state legislature to a statewide race) she will be a formidable candidate in the Republican primary and arguably the current favorite. Sen. Vukmir already has some big names on her campaign’s finance committee including Diane Hendricks and Mary Kohler signaling that she will have the funding not only to be successful in the primary but highly competitive in the general as well. Former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow also officially endorsed Vukmir yesterday. Vukmir is an active, respected and staunch conservative who might find it difficult to move to the middle in a statewide race to appeal to independent voters, but part of her appeal will be her consistency and passion on the issues she fights for.
By running, Vukmir will have to give up her state Senate seat and, win or lose, will not be in the state Senate for the first time since 2010. Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) has already announced he will run to replace her and he will be a heavy favorite to win that seat.