GOP Keeps Paul Ryan’s House Seat in Wisconsin as Steil Soars Past Bryce


Republican candidate Bryan Steil, a former staffer to House Speaker Paul Ryan, has won the election for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District over Democratic challenger and ironworker Randy Bryce, who calls himself “Ironstache.”

The seat has been held by Ryan since 1999, but after he announced he would not seek re-election, Steil and Bryce joined the race to take over his seat, which Cook Political Report rated “Leans Republican.”

Steil, also a University of Wisconsin regent, defeated Bryce, a union activist and Army veteran, by about 11 points.

The district went for President Donald Trump in 2016 by a margin of 10.3 points, and Trump won Wisconsin by 0.8 points.

Trump endorsed Steil in August when he won the Republican primary, saying Steil “will make the entire State of Wisconsin very proud.”

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A member of a prominent Republican family, Steil has been well-known and well-liked in Wisconsin’s southeastern district for some time and served as a legislative aide and adviser to Ryan in the early 2000s.

Although Steil received the Republican presidential endorsement, Bryce has made headlines throughout his campaign for a number of different reasons, from his trademark mustache to his endorsements from former President Barack Obama and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Bryce also captured the attention of several Hollywood liberals, including comedian Chelsea Handler and Hugo Chavez sympathizer Sean Penn.

A CNN report on July 6 broke the news that Bryce had been arrested nine times for charges ranging from marijuana possession and drunken driving to property damage and theft.

While Bryce received such high-profile endorsements, including another one from Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Steil received an endorsement from Bryce’s own brother, James Bryce.

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James said in the ad posted on YouTube that he’d be voting for his brother’s Republican opponent, seemingly over a 2012 tweet from Randy that appeared to compare police officers to terrorists.

“When people refer to police officers as terrorists, that hits a little close to home,” James Bryce said in the ad. “I don’t think people want to be represented by someone who has shown contempt for those in law enforcement. That’s one of the many reasons why I’m voting Bryan Steil for Congress.”

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