Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Leah Vukmir said she is not concerned about a poll released Wednesday that shows her trailing her opponent.
The Marquette University Law School poll puts Vukmir 11 percentage points behind Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin, with 54 percent of likely voters supporting Baldwin and 43 percent supporting Vukmir.
Vukmir told reporters Wednesday during a campaign stop in Milton that she believes there is a disconnect between polls and the people she meets “on the ground.”
The Senate candidate met with reporters Wednesday at Diamond Assets, an electronics and technology trade-up firm. Vukmir took a tour of the manufacturing facility, led by owners Diamond and Mike McKenna.
Vukmir said she loves hearing stories of small Wisconsin businesses, like Diamond Assets, that grow out of people’s garages.
Marquette’s polls have been “all over the place” for Vukmir, she said, adding that Baldwin would not spend millions of dollars in attack ads if the competition was truly that far apart.
A poll Marquette released Oct. 10 had Vukmir 10 percentage points behind Baldwin.
A Sept. 18 poll had Vukmir 11 percentage points behind Baldwin.
On Wednesday, Vukmir’s campaign released a tweet that gave Baldwin a pejorative nickname, “Princess Painkiller.”
The tweet included a picture of a cartoon board game resembling Candy Land and stated:
“The reality is that #TomahTammy (a.k.a. Princess Painkiller) failed our vets at the VA when “Candyland” was running amok.”
The tweet refers to Vukmir’s claims that Baldwin was slow to respond to reports of overprescription of painkillers to veterans at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Baldwin has spoken publicly this year about her mother’s mental health issues and drug addiction, which led to Baldwin being raised by her grandparents. The parents of a veteran who died at the medical center have appeared in campaign ads for Baldwin because the senator worked with them on passing legislation, named for their son who died, to toughen opioid prescription guidelines at the VA.
When asked Wednesday if the tweet went too far, Vukmir said it was Halloween and she was making an example of what was going on in the campaign.
Also Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., after the Speaker of the House said Tuesday that the practice of granting birthright citizenship cannot be ended with an executive order, as proposed by Trump, because it is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Vukmir, who has aligned herself politically with both Trump and Ryan, sided with the president, saying he was taking a stance on immigration that will not allow people to take advantage of freedoms given in the U.S.
Vukmir said immigration is a top concern for voters in this election behind health care. She did not address whether she agreed with Ryan’s statement.