Caledonia Ironworker Challenging Speaker Paul Ryan
Long-time iron worker, and union activist, Randy Bryce is challenging Congressman Paul Ryan in 2018.
Bryce, a Democrat, announced his candidacy earlier this week by rolling out a pre-produced campaign video.
Within three days of the launch, the video have more than a quarter-million views on YouTube.
The Bryce campaign is pointing to that as a sign of early momentum.
Bryce is an Army veteran, and long-time union ironworker.
He had two unsuccessful runs for state Assembly and Senate in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
Wednesday, Bryce said, "They were looking for quality candidates to run in those districts, and I knew what I was up against. But it was an opportunity to fight back at these extreme policies that are put forward in Wisconsin. So I had a chance to get a message out."
The Republican Party of Wisconsin quickly attacked Bryce for his previous losses. Party spokesman, Alec Zimmerman, said, "The voters of Wisconsin have already rejected Randy Bryce multiple times. Instead of fighting for hard-working Wisconsin families, Randy Bryce will say and do anything to get to Washington and defend his liberal special interest friends.”
Bryce said he is challenging Ryan because of Ryan’s lack of holding open and public town halls, and because of his push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Bryce said, "I have a 10 year old son that I'm worried about being insured... myself now because I have what's considered a pre-existing condition, or my parents because my mom has M.S., my dad is in assisted living due to Alzheimer’s.”
Ryan has won 10 straight 1st Congressional District elections by margins ranging from 12% to 38%.
Bryce said he knows challenging Ryan will be a “tough race”. Bryce also said, “It's counting on my strong community ties that we're going to get out the vote. It's just the interest alone from the video, there's been a lot of people 'What can I do?' 'How can I help?' So I'm counting on every one of those people that's offered to help to actually get out and do something."
Bryce will face David Yankovich in a Democratic primary next August.
In a statement, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairwoman Martha Laning said, “"Democrats all over the country are excited to see top-notch progressive Democrats enter the race in the first Congressional District. All Paul Ryan has done after 18 years in Congress is carry water for special interests and the wealthy while ignoring his own constituents. The hard working families of the first Congressional District deserve better than Speaker Ryan - it's time for a change. Wisconsinites just want a fair shot at success and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Now more than ever, they need someone working on their behalf in Washington."