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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher August 8, 2018

Kevin Nicholson's attack on Leah Vukmir ignores the fact that she became backer of Trump's candidacy

On one level, the Republican primary campaign for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin has been a contest over which candidate can appear more pro-President Donald Trump.

On that score, Kevin Nicholson hit his primary revival, Leah Vukmir, in an online video that was posted Aug. 1, 2018. The winner of their Aug. 14, 2018 primary will face Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Nicholson’s 30-second ad shows clips of Vukmir criticizing Trump, including saying Trump is offensive to different groups of people. It starts -- and ends -- with Vukmir saying:

"I’m not endorsing Donald Trump."

That leaves the impression that Vukmir never endorsed Trump for president. But she she eventually did -- prominently.

And she backs Trump today.

All of our fact checks in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race.



The clips of Vukmir criticizing Trump are from March 2016, prior to Wisconsin’s primary election in April 2016. Trump lost that contest by 13 points to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But, of course, Trump went on to win the GOP nomination before defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 2016 general election.

OK, now let’s track Vukmir.

Featured Fact-check

Before the Wisconsin primary, Vukmir first supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who briefly ran for the GOP nomination before dropping out in September 2015.

Then she backed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who ended his run in March 2016. Vukmir said she ultimately voted for Cruz in the Wisconsin primary.

(For his part, Nicholson wasn’t an original Trump supporter, either. He supported Rubio initially, but said he voted for Trump in the primary.)

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What’s important here, though, is that during the general election campaign Vukmir not only endorsed Trump, she was part of a women for Trump group and appeared in a radio ad supporting his candidacy against Clinton.

That’s completely left out of Nicholson’s ad.

What’s more, since it is running in the days prior to the election, it makes it seem as if this is Vukmir’s current position. It’s not.

(Note: We’ve rated as False a claim by Vukmir that "I have always been there with" Donald Trump.)

Our rating

Nicholson says that Vukmir said: "I’m not endorsing Donald Trump."

But that was before Trump became the GOP nominee for president in 2016. After he won the nomination, Vukmir endorsed Trump and prominently supported him, as she does today.

We rate Nicholson’s claim False.

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PolitiFact rating logo PolitiFact Rating:
Says Leah Vukmir said: "I’m not endorsing Donald Trump."
In an online ad
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Our Sources

YouTube, Kevin Nicholson campaign video, Aug. 1, 2018

Email, Kevin Nicholson campaign spokeswoman Ronica Cleary, Aug. 7, 2018

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Leah Vukmir blasts Kevin Nicholson as both claim to be top backer of Donald Trump," Aug. 7, 2018

Wisconsin State Journal, "GOP US Senate primary turns brutal over who's more loyal to Donald Trump," Aug. 1, 2018

Associated Press, "Senate hopeful Vukmir reaffirms support for Trump in new ad," Aug. 6, 2018

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Republican Senate candidate Leah Vukmir once bashed Trump. Are GOP voters OK with that?" Aug. 2, 2018

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More by Tom Kertscher

Kevin Nicholson's attack on Leah Vukmir ignores the fact that she became backer of Trump's candidacy

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