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:
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:
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) July 23, 2018
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:
My car odometer has hit 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣, which means I’ve driven 71,000 miles across our great state talking with voters. So thankful for all the people I’ve met on my #WisconsinWay tour. #wisen pic.twitter.com/CDLVDiIdqu
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) July 1, 2018
Hit 70,000 miles on my #WisconsinWay tour talking with voters about what they care about most! (Started at 29,000 miles.)
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) June 19, 2018
The miles on my car still keep ticking up! Now at 6️⃣8️⃣ thousand miles driven talking with Wisconsinites about the issues that matter most to them. (Began at 29 thousand.) #wisen pic.twitter.com/lSVMwhGkPZ
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) June 12, 2018
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) June 2, 2018
I've now hit 65K driven on my journey talking with Wisconsinites from every corner of the state about sending proven, consistent conservative leadership to DC. (Started with my odometer at 29K miles.) #wisen pic.twitter.com/lsamnlQ8YM
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) May 24, 2018
Driving beteeen Wausau and Green Bay, I hit 6️⃣3️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ miles driven on my car talking with Wisconsinites who want new, proven leadership in the U.S. Senate! (Started at 29K.) #wisen #wiright pic.twitter.com/pSm9ohxbSp
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) May 16, 2018
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) April 27, 2018
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) April 23, 2018
Hit 58,000 miles driven on my #WisconsinWay tour today! All over the state, the message is clear: We need new conservative representation in the U.S. Senate. #wisen #wiright pic.twitter.com/aSqanW0eAg
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) April 17, 2018
Last night I officially hit 5️⃣0️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ miles driven across Wisconsin since considering my Senate run. And I’m not done yet! (Started at 29K.) #WisconsinWay #wisen #wiright pic.twitter.com/lLhiP0ipFb
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) March 2, 2018
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.