Renee Ellmers

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Renee Ellmers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byBob Etheridge
Succeeded byGeorge Holding
Personal details
Renee Louise Jacisin[1]

(1964-02-09) February 9, 1964 (age 58)
Ironwood, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Brent Ellmers
EducationOakland University (BS)

Renee Louise Ellmers (née Jacisin; born February 9, 1964)[2] is an American registered nurse and politician who was the U.S. representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district from 2011 to 2017. She is a member of the Republican Party. Ellmers defeated seven-term Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge in 2010 by 1,489 votes, confirmed after a recount. In the 2016 Republican primary, Ellmers was defeated by fellow U.S. Representative George Holding.[3] She is running in the 2022 election in North Carolina's 13th congressional district.[4]

Early life, education, and nursing career

Ellmers was born Renee Louise 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.[5][1] She moved to Madison Heights as a child, when her father got a job in the automobile industry. She graduated from Madison High School.[6] Ellmers paid her way through Oakland University by working various jobs, training as a medical assistant.[7] In 1990, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.[8][9] 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.[6]

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.[8] 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. She won the Republican primary with 55% of the vote,[8] winning every county in the district except Franklin.[10][11]

In June, a physical altercation between U.S. Congressman Bob Etheridge and two young men claiming to be students working on a project[12] was posted to the internet.[13] The previously obscure Ellmers was highlighted by conservative blogs such as RedState and the National Review's The Corner.[14] Donations increased markedly,[15] and a SurveyUSA poll showed Ellmers ahead by one percent.[16] Ellmers received an endorsement from former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin on August 18 through Facebook, citing Ellmers' experience in the health care industry.[17] Palin endorsed Ellmers along with three other women, on the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States.[18]

On election day, November 2, 2010, Ellmers was declared the winner by the media and a recount conducted on November 17 and 18 confirmed that she defeated Bob Etheridge during the general election by a margin of 0.8% or 1,483 votes.[19][20]


The Republicans won control of the General Assembly in the 2010 election as well, and used the redistricting process to make the 2nd friendlier for Ellmers. They pushed the district well to the west to take in some heavily Republican territory between Raleigh and Greensboro. The two sections were connected by a narrow tendril sweeping from Fayetteville through Ellmers' home in Dunn to Raleigh. While Barack Obama won the old 2nd with 52 percent of the vote—one of the few majority-white districts in the south that went for Obama—John McCain would have carried the new 2nd with 57 percent of the vote.

Three Republicans decided to challenge her in the primary, but all of them were first-time candidates. She won the May 8 primary with 56% of the vote.[21] In the November general election, Ellmers defeated Democratic nominee Steve Wilkins, a retired US Army officer and Moore County businessman, 56%–41%.[22]


Ellmers considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2014,[23] but instead ran for re-election. In May 2014 primary she faced conservative Internet talk show host Frank Roche, who campaigned mainly against her support of immigration reform.[24] Ellmers easily won the nomination, capturing 58% of the vote to Roche's 41%.[25] "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken won the Democratic nomination after a close primary.[26] Ellmers secured the seat again with a margin of 36,649 votes from Second District voters.[27]


A court-ordered redistricting made the 2nd significantly more compact. It lost much of its territory near Greensboro, and now took in a large chunk of the area represented by the former 13th district, forcing Ellmers into a primary challenge with George Holding, whose former district number was moved to the Triad area of North Carolina. Ellmers stated that Holding wasn't qualified to run in the district since he lived just outside its borders (though members of the House are only required to live in the state they represent). However, the new 2nd was geographically more Holding's district than Ellmers'.[28] Ellmers had to contend with a high level of campaign spending by outside groups aligning themselves with the Tea Party movement, including Americans for Prosperity, which spent in the "low six figures" to defeat her.[29] Conservative opposition to Ellmers arose from her push to prevent a vote on a 2015 abortion bill,[29][30] from her votes on spending and budget bills, and from her vote in favor of the continuation of the Export-Import Bank.[29] In the June 7th primary, she lost her primary campaign to Holding by an almost 30-point margin, coming in second by just 0.6% over third-place Greg Brannon.


In September 2011, Ellmers told students at Campbell University that she opposed a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions because it was too broad. A spokesman said "Congresswoman Ellmers has always believed that marriage is a sacred institution and is defined as the union between one man and one woman...As a voter, she would vote against a piece of legislation that would add a ban on civil unions to the protection of marriage since they are two different issues and should be dealt with separately."[31]

She supported the Budget Control Act of 2011 saying "It's not 100 percent of what many of our very conservative colleagues want, but it is about 70-75 percent. This is not about who's the most conservative. This is about common sense."[32]

Ellmer served as the chairwoman of the Republican Women's Policy Committee.[33]

In 2015, Ellmers—who identifies as pro-life—co-led a group of Republican women that advocated against holding a floor vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; the bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks' gestation.[34] Ellmers reportedly "objected to a provision in the bill that would have required women seeking a rape or incest exemption to have reported those rapes to the authorities."[35]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Post-congressional career

In May 2017, Ellmers began working for the United States Department of Health and Human Services as a regional director in Atlanta.[37] She worked as a registered nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.[4]

Campaign for lieutenant governor

In 2020, Ellmers sought election as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina.[38] She placed fifth in the Republican primary election, with businessman Mark Robinson securing the nomination and eventually winning the general election.[39]

The White House Accountability Act

On March 26, 2015, Ellmers sponsored a bill called The White House Accountability Act (H.R.1693). She introduced the bill as her response to President Obama issuing an executive order to cease deportation of undocumented immigrants.[40][41] The bill is aimed at funds Congress appropriated for White House salaries and expenses for fiscal year 2015. If passed, the bill would rescind any funds left that have not yet been spent.[42]

Fairness for Farmers Act

On March 17, 2015, Ellmers sponsored the Fairness for Farmers Act of 2015. The bill would give an exemption to agricultural farming companies from the section of the Affordable Care Act that mandates health insurance coverage for employers that have more than 50 employees.[43]

Vaccine Access, Certainty, and Innovation Act

On February 5, 2015, Ellmers introduced H.R. 786: Vaccine Access, Certainty, and Innovation Act of 2015. Democratic Congressman G.K. Butterfield cosponsored the bill. The trade association for biotechnology companies (the Biotechnology Industry Organization, "BIO") supported the bill. If passed into law, the bill would make the work conducted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) more transparent and consistent toward the goal of developing recommendations for vaccines; create a formal process for the Centers for Disease Control to meet regularly with companies that make vaccines; and push Medicare to promptly pay for vaccines for senior citizens.[44]

Personal life

Ellmers met her husband, Brent Ellmers, a surgeon, while working at Beaumont Hospital. After the birth of their son, the family moved to Dunn, North Carolina, where Ellmers and her husband ran a practice.[8]

Ellmers, a Roman Catholic,[45] has said, "As a mom, Christian and nurse, my beliefs have deepened through experience... I am pro-family."[46]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Former Rep. Renee Ellmers - R North Carolina, 2nd, Defeated - Biography". Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  2. ^ Jennifer Scholtes (November 3, 2010). "112th Congress: Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. (2nd District)". Congressional Quarterly. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  3. ^ CBS North Carolina and Associated Press (June 7, 2016). "Holding defeats Ellmers in 2nd Congressional district". WNCN. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Schnell, Mychael (December 9, 2021). "Former Rep. Renee Ellmers running for Congress again in North Carolina". TheHill. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  5. ^ "Renee Ellmers ancestry". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Meet Renee". Renee Ellmers for Congress. Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  7. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). CQ Roll Call. November 4, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d "Renee Ellmers (R)". National Journal. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  9. ^ "Renee Ellmers' Biography - The Voter's Self Defense System - Vote Smart". Project Vote Smart.
  10. ^ "NC District 2 – R Primary Race – May 04, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  11. ^ Phillips, Gregory (April 21, 2010). "GOP 2nd Congressional District candidates cite unique perspectives". The Fayetteville Observer.
  12. ^ "They also tried to push Democrats into retirement, using what was described in the presentation as "guerrilla tactics" like chasing Democratic members down with video cameras and pressing them to explain votes or positions. (One target, Representative Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, had to apologize for manhandling one of his inquisitors in a clip memorialized on YouTube. Only this week did Republican strategists acknowledge they were behind the episode.)" From Democrats Outrun by a 2-Year G.O.P. Comeback Plan, New York Times November 3, 2010
  13. ^ Grier, Peter (June 14, 2010). "Bob Etheridge incident: What does he have to apologize for?". The Christian Science Monitor.
  14. ^ Cillizza, Chris (June 15, 2010). "Bob Etheridge and the political power (or lack thereof) of a gaffe". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Christensen, Rob. "Etheridge slip puts foe on map". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on June 19, 2010.
  16. ^ Geraghty, Jim (June 18, 2010). "National Review: 'Just Who Is Bob Etheridge?'". National Public Radio.
  17. ^ "Palin endorses Ellmers". The News & Observer. August 18, 2010. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010.
  18. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (August 18, 2010). "Palin adds to 'mama grizzly' pack". Politico.
  19. ^ Barrett, Barbara (November 20, 2010). "Ellmers wins, recount shows". The Charlotte Observer.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "NC – District 02 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  21. ^ "NC District 02- R Primary Race – May 08, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  22. ^ "NC District 02 Race – Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  23. ^ "House Republican Won't Run for Senate #NCSEN - At the Races". At the Races.
  24. ^ "Ellmers draws primary challenger" Laura Leslie. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  25. ^ "NC State Board of Elections website". Archived from the original on December 31, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  26. ^ Jarvis, Craig (May 13, 2014). "Aiken maintains lead; is official Democratic nominee for Congress". Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  27. ^ "North Carolina Board of Elections". North Carolina Board of Elections Official Results. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  28. ^ "In North Carolina's 2nd District, a fight over residency and authenticity between Holding, Ellmers". Politifact. June 3, 2016.
  29. ^ a b c Taylor, Jessica (June 6, 2016). "How A Tea Partier Became Its Villain — And Why She Could Lose Tuesday". NPR. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  30. ^ Emily Cahn (January 23, 2015). "Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge". Roll Call. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  31. ^ Christensen, Rob. "Dome: Amendment is too broad to get Ellmers' vote | Under the Dome". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  32. ^ Tate, Curtis (July 28, 2011). "Debt limit fight brings N.C.'s Ellmers close to GOP leadership | Top Stories | Modesto Bee". Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  33. ^ Dumain, Emma (June 21, 2013). "GOP Women Seek Broader Influence With Policy Committee". Roll Call. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  34. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (January 21, 2015). "Abortion bill dropped amid concerns of female GOP lawmakers". Washington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  35. ^ Taylor, Jessica (January 6, 2016). "How A Tea Partier Became Its Villain — And Why She Could Lose Tuesday". NPR. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  36. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  37. ^ "Renee Ellmers, who endorsed Trump early, lands a federal job". newsobserver. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  38. ^ Penkava, Larry. "Ellmers campaigning for NC lieutenant governor". The Courier-Tribune.
  39. ^ "Political newcomer Robinson wins GOP Lt Gov's nomination". AP NEWS. March 4, 2020.
  40. ^ "H.R. 1693: White House Accountability Act of 2015". GovTrack. Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  41. ^ "Ellmers introduces White House Accountability Act". Ripon Advance. April 1, 2015. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  42. ^ "Discussion Draft: H.R.; To rescind unobligated amounts for White House salaries and expenses" (PDF). U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers. United States Congress. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  43. ^ "Ellmers reintroduces Fairness to Farmers Act". Ripon Advance. March 19, 2015. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  44. ^ "BIO Praises Vaccine Access, Certainty, and Innovation Act of 2015". Yahoo! Finance. BusinessWire. February 6, 2015. Archived from the original on October 25, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  45. ^ Patricia Miller (March 15, 2015). "The Democratic Party is facing a Catholic apocalypse".
  46. ^ "Renee Ellmers for Congress - Family Values". Archived from the original on January 25, 2015.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative
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