Elections

Steil, Bryce Win Wisconsin Congressional Primaries

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Bryan Steil and Randy Bryce won their Republican and Democratic primary races Tuesday night, respectively, in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, setting the stage to see who will ultimately take House Speaker Paul Ryan’s longtime seat.

Despite running in a crowded field, Steil was long favored to emerge victorious in the GOP primary contest. The former Ryan aide and manufacturing sector attorney defeated four other candidates.

Bryce was still able to win his primary election over one other candidate, despite big stumbles during his campaign.

Steil beat back challenges from Army veteran Nick Polce, applications engineer Kevin Steen, Paul Nehlen and activist Jeremy Ryan.

A member of a prominent Republican family, Steil has been well known and well liked in Wisconsin’s southeastern district. Before working as a manufacturing lawyer, Steil served as a legislative aide and adviser to Ryan in the early 2000s. He threw his hat into the ring in April, just days after the Republican House speaker announced that he would be retiring. Ryan officially endorsed Steil in June.

Over on the Democratic side, ironworker and perennial candidate for office Bryce defeated Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers.

Bryce’s launch video skyrocketed him to stardom among national Democrats, many of whom believed he had the chops to take Ryan’s seat. The Wisconsin Democrat — who calls himself “Ironstache” and considers himself a working man — immediately raked in out-of-state donations and was the undisputed favorite to win the Democratic primary. (RELATED: Wisconsin Democrat Trying To Replace Paul Ryan Has Catalog Of Arrests)

However, numerous revelations into his personal life had since thrown his campaign into disarray.

Local media revealed in November 2017 that Bryce had been delinquent on his child support payments for nearly two years, with him finally paying off his debt two months after launching his campaign. Later that same month, an ex-girfriend revealed that he avoided paying money owed to her for 15 years — even ignoring a court order.

Bryce had blamed both accounts on being a struggling blue-collar worker. Court documents show he was earning as much as $76,000 just a few years ago.

It was also revealed in July that Bryce been arrested a total of nine times in his past. The Democratic candidate had been arrested for property damage, drunk driving and had been busted several times for driving with a suspended license. Bryce had also been arrested twice more recently for his political activism.

Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District still leans Republican. Ryan won the district in 2016 with 65 percent of the vote and President Donald Trump won it by a 10-point margin. The district still touts a Cook PVI rating of R+5. However, talk of a Democratic “blue wave” has liberals believing the seat is in play.

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