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Exclusive — Establishment-Backed Leah Vukmir Falsely Claims She Drives ‘Ford’ on Campaign Trail; Actually Drives Toyota

Leah Vukmir appears in a campaign ad driving a car with a blurred Toyota logo.
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Washington, D.C.

Establishment-backed GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir falsely claimed in a fundraising letter that she drives a Ford, when, in reality, she drives a Toyota, Breitbart News has learned. In addition, in at least one campaign video, her campaign–while she is driving her Toyota Camry–appears to blur the Toyota logo on her steering wheel. In another video that features her car, she keeps the trunk open, hiding the Toyota logo on the back bumper.

Vukmir’s driving her car on the campaign trail is a central part of her identity as a candidate, and the fact that she and her campaign would lie about something so basic is troubling at best. Her campaign has not replied to a request for comment from Breitbart News before press time on Thursday.

Vukmir and businessman Kevin Nicholson–the conservative candidate running with the support of economic nationalist grassroots voters aligned with President Donald Trump–will face off in a televised debate in Wisconsin on Thursday evening. The winner between Vukmir and Nicholson will face off against incumbent Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in a state President Trump shocked the world by flipping red against Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016’s presidential election.

The fact that Vukmir would lie in fundraising documents and deceive viewers in campaign videos about her car’s manufacturer is particularly interesting, and is surely going to become a major part of the Senate race in the final weeks–especially as President Trump continues to make renegotiation of trade deals and bolstering manufacturing in the United States a central theme of his presidency. While some Toyotas are made in the United States, many of them are manufactured in Japan then, shipped here from Asia. It is unclear whether Vukmir’s Toyota Camry was manufactured in the United States or in Japan–or perhaps somewhere else–but one thing is clear: she demonstrably lied about what kind of car she drives in a recent fundraising letter to donors that she herself signed.

“From the more than 50,000 miles I’ve put on my Ford to listen and share my ideas, I’m discovering that grassroots Wisconsinites of all ages are fed up too,” Vukmir wrote in the two-page fundraising letter bearing her signature, subsequently obtained by Breitbart News.

Then, there is a campaign video showing Vukmir introducing herself as a candidate. The video was released on her official YouTube page, and her campaign team appears to have blurred the Toyota logo on her Camry’s steering wheel while she is driving her car. From about 1:19 to about 1:21 in this more-than-four-minute video, the Toyota logo on her Camry’s steering wheel is blurred:

 

Leah Vukmir appears in a campaign ad driving a car with a blurred Toyota logo.

Leah Vukmir appears in a campaign ad driving a car with a blurred Toyota logo.

That is not the only skeptical video Vukmir has released. In another released on her Twitter account, she has her Toyota Camry in her driveway with the trunk open while she carries in groceries and brags about battling labor union bosses alongside Gov. Scott Walker:

Again, it would not be unusual for her to keep the trunk open like this but for the fact that it again conceals the logo on the bumper that her car–despite her own claims in the above-described fundraising letter that she drives a Ford–is, in fact, a Toyota Camry.

Breitbart News has confirmed in multiple manners–with photographs and videos of Vukmir’s car, her entering it, and with other identifying characteristics–that she does, in fact, drive this Toyota Camry, and that it is her car. For her privacy and security, Breitbart News is not releasing any more information about the car’s specifics, such as its license plate number or other identifying characteristics.

The fact that Vukmir would lie about something so simple in her campaign fundraising and messaging is troubling at best, but it also cuts to the core of her theme on the campaign trail. She regularly tweets photographs of her Toyota Camry’s odometer, claiming to have driven tens of thousands of miles across Wisconsin on the campaign trail. She does not identify the odometer as belonging to her Toyota Camry in any of those tweets.

Here are a few of them:

The GOP establishment in Wisconsin, from the official state Party to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and others, have rallied behind Vukmir’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. As the establishment has rallied behind her campaign, she has seen her polling numbers improve, but the best she has been so far is inside the margin of error ahead of Nicholson. Nicholson, in most of the scant polling done on the race, has been solidly ahead of Vukmir for the better part of a year. Nicholson has the backing of Trump supporters and, unlike the Ryan-backed Vukmir, is actually, as Trump would say, tough on immigration. In various Breitbart News radio appearances on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 during the past year, Nicholson has repeatedly sided with the president on immigration and trade policy all while Ryan was undercutting Trump on those particular matters.

It remains to be seen who will win the debate on Thursday evening on television in Wisconsin, and it remains to be seen if the establishment will pull off an upset in Wisconsin in the August 14 primary. But so-called “Make America Great Again,” MAGA, candidates like Nicholson across the country have been shocking establishment-backed insiders like Vukmir from Georgia to Texas to West Virginia to Montana back to the Carolinas and everywhere in between. One looming potential variable is Trump himself, and Trump could–with an endorsement of Nicholson–rebuke the establishment wing of his Party yet again and send the businessman and ex-Marine over the top. The president has shocked the establishment before with endorsements of people like Brian Kemp for governor in Georgia and Katie Arrington for Congress in South Carolina, so a Nicholson endorsement in the homestretch would not be surprising in the slightest.

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