Greek-American Wins Wisconsin Primary, Changes Mind Over Megadonor

Republican nominee Leah Papachristou. (Photo by leahvukmir.com)

MADISON, WI (AP) — A week after accusing a billionaire donor of attempting to buy a Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat, Republican nominee Leah Papachristou Vukmir is now hoping to persuade the same Illinois businessman to open his wallet for her campaign against Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Vukmir’s change of heart comes after she won Tuesday’s divisive and expensive Republican primary over Kevin Nicholson, the preferred candidate of megadonor Dick Uihlein. He spent nearly $11 million on the race for Nicholson and now, as Republicans try to unite behind Vukmir, the big question is whether Uihlein will get involved in the effort to defeat Baldwin.

“I hope that he will want to continue with his commitment,” Greek-American Vukmir said in a radio interview Wednesday on The Mark Belling Show. ”Let’s face it: He wants to defeat Tammy Baldwin.”

That’s not what Vukmir was saying last week on The John Muir Show.

“I think it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of people that a particular out of state donor is spending as much money as he is to, in essence, almost try and buy a Senate seat and that’s not what Wisconsin politics is about,” Vukmir said on Aug. 6, a clear reference to Uihlein, although she doesn’t name him.

MEET LEAH PAPACHRISTOU VUKMIR

A daughter of Greek immigrants and lifelong Wisconsinite, Leah graduated from Brookfield East High School, received a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marquette University and her Master’s degree from University of Wisconsin–Madison. Leah grew up in a family filled with many cousins and constant activity — a real-life big, fat Greek family. She quickly realized that if she wanted to be heard, she had to speak up and not back down, according to Vukmir’s website.

Leah raised her two children, Elena and Niko, in Wauwatosa where she lived for 30 years and is a member of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Recently, she returned to her hometown of Brookfield where she enjoys spending time with Sophie, a German Shepherd she and her son rescued.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)