House Speaker Paul Ryan overwhelming won his primary against challenger Paul Nehlen in the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday evening.
“I am humbled and honored that Wisconsinites in the 1st Congressional District support my efforts to keep fighting on their behalf,” Ryan said in a victory statement. “Janna and I are grateful to have the support of so many in southern Wisconsin, and we are truly thankful for all of their hard work.”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Ryan won 84 percent to 16 percent — 57,391 votes to 10,852 votes.
Ryan dodged a political upset similar to what was seen in former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s race in 2014, when his was ousted by Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia. The Ryan camp largely didn’t react to Nehlen’s attacks during the race.
Nehlen, who attempted to paint Ryan as a career politician and part of the GOP establishment, modeled his campaign after Republican nominee Donald Trump. He often praised the candidate for his policy stances and comments. 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin supported Nehlen, but it wasn’t enough to unseat Ryan, who has an astounding 80 percent approval rating in his district.
The race managed to draw national media attention following Trump’s initial hesitation to endorse Ryan — using similar language to what Ryan had said ahead of his endorsement in June, saying he “wasn’t quite ready” to get behind the incumbent.
Following pressure from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Trump finally endorsed Ryan at a campaign event in Green Bay, Wisc., Friday.
Despite Trump complimenting Nehlen on running a good campaign and tweeting his thanks for Nehlen’s support, the congressional hopeful was banned from attending Friday’s campaign event.
Ryan is expected to easily win his race against Democrat Tom Breu in November.
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