Renee Jacisin Ellmers (born February 9, 1964) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district. She is a member of the Republican Party. Ellmers defeated seven-term Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge by 1,489 votes, confirmed after a recount.
Early life, education, and nursing career
Ellmers was born Renee Jacisin in Ironwood, Michigan, the daughter of Caroline Pauline (née Marshalek) and LeRoy Francis Jacisin. Her father was of Czech and French-Canadian descent and her mother was of Croatian and Polish ancestry. She moved to Madison Heights as a child, when her father got a job in the automobile industry.
She graduated from Madison High School. Ellmers paid her way through Oakland University by working various jobs, training as a medical assistant. In 1990, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Ellmers worked as a nurse in Beaumont Hospital's surgical intensive care unit. In North Carolina, she was clinical director of the Trinity Wound Care Center in Dunn.
U.S. House of Representatives
Ellmers became involved in politics after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which she opposed. She became involved in local Republican politics and joined Americans for Prosperity, a free-market political advocacy group. She sought the Republican Party nomination for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district, which was then held by seven-term incumbent Bob Etheridge. She faced car dealer Todd Gailas and retired businessman Frank Deatrich in the May 4, 2010 Republican primary. She raised and spent more money than her opponents, and easily won the nomination.
In June, a physical altercation between U.S.
Congressman Bob Etheridge and two young men claiming to be students working on a project (but in reality they were sent by Republican strategists) was posted to the internet. The previously obscure Ellmers was highlighted by conservative blogs such as RedState and the National Review's The Corner. Donations increased markedly, and a SurveyUSA poll showed Ellmers ahead by one percent. Ultimately, the Ellmers campaign would highlight the incident in a number of televised negative attack ads against Etheridge. In August, Renee Ellmers received an endorsement from former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin on August 18 through Facebook, citing Ellmers' experience in the health care industry. Palin endorsed Ellmers along with three other women, on the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States.
Ellmers received national media attention in September when she released a television ad condemning the Park51 community center in Manhattan, and Congressman Etheridge for not voicing an opinion on the subject. The ad was criticized as "the most baldly anti-Muslim ad of the year" by Salon and "bigotry" by a writer for the Washington Post. Nevertheless, Ellmers led in polling and fundraising prior to the election.
On election day, November 2, 2010, Ellmers was declared the winner by the media and a recount conducted November 17 and 18 confirmed that she defeated Bob Etheridge during the general election.
Ellmers met her husband Brent Ellmers, a surgeon, while working at Beaumont Hospital. After the birth of their son Ben, the family moved to Dunn, North Carolina, where Ellmers and her husband ran a practice.
January 8th, 2012