Evidence is mounting that the influential corporate right and the state’s Republican establishment are coalescing behind state Sen. Leah Vukmir as the candidate to take on U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in her 2018 re-election bid.
The latest evidence is news that Gov. Scott Walker’s son Alex Walker has been tapped to work as Vukmir’s deputy political director.
Walker hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race, but his son’s addition to Vukmir's campaign is the latest in a line of Walker affiliates who have joined her side. Last week a super PAC backing Vukmir was created, led by Walker’s former campaign manager.
Vukmir is raking in the cash. She raised nearly $250,000 in the first three weeks after officially entering the 2018 U.S. Senate race. In addition, she has deep-pocketed supporters who are helping her campaign by giving money to super PACs that don't have the contribution limits candidates must abide by.
For instance, the Koch brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity announced a $1.4 million television ad buy in Wisconsin to trash Baldwin.
The liberal group One Wisconsin now has called on the state’s ethics commission to investigate Vukmir for possible violations in raising campaign money due to conflicts of interest.
By circling around Vukmir’s wagon so far in advance, the state’s Republican elite could be trying to ward off would-be contenders. Vukmir, an evangelical Christian with radical right-wing views, and former U.S. Marine Kevin Nicholson are the only two announced Republican candidates for U.S. Senate so far. The corporate leaders at the top of the GOP’s chain of command likely want to avoid the expense and potential sniping of a crowded field for the Republican primary