Former Republican state Sen. and U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir has passed on a bid to replace outgoing Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.
Vukmir’s announcement came two days after another prominent Republican — Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow — dropped out of the running.
Their absence in the race for southeastern Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District gives more breathing room to other Republicans still considering runs: Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau; former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson; Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield; Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee; Matt Walker, the son of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker; and Matt Neumann, the son of former Republican congressman Mark Neumann, who ran and lost against Scott Walker for governor in 2010.
After prayerful consideration and many heartfelt discussions with my family, I have decided not to run for the 5th Congressional District.— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) September 12, 2019
Sensenbrenner earlier this month announced he would end his 40-year congressional career when his current term ends in 2021.
In a post on Twitter, Vukmir, who represented Brookfield in the Senate since 2011 and in the Assembly since 2003, said she’s turning down a run to represent the strongly Republican district because she’s satisfied with her transition to the private sector.
“My transition to the private sector working for the National Taxpayers Union has been rewarding, while affording me the opportunity to enjoy some personal freedom,” Vukmir said. “My love for my family motivated me to become involved in politics, and now they have helped me come to my decision to prioritize family and friends in a different way.”
Besides several Republicans eyeing the likely safe GOP seat, Democrat Tom Palzewicz, an entrepreneur and Navy veteran who lost to Sensenbrenner in 2018, is also running.
The race to replace Sensenbrenner is one of two open Wisconsin congressional races. In the other, the Republican-friendly 7th Congressional District covering much of northern Wisconsin, state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, has announced a bid for the seat.
Other Republicans vying for the seat include Rep. Romaine Quinn, of Barron, and Ben Voelkel and Jason Church, both staffers for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh.
Democrats considering a run to represent the district include Rep. Nick Milroy, of South Range, and Sen. Janet Bewley, of Mason, among others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.