Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI) has only one declared opponent, and he is rapidly becoming an unlikely hero. Randy Bryce, an ironworker from Wisconsin and when he released this first ad for campaign challenging Ryan, the ad went viral and his campaign earned over $100k during the first 24 hours. Watch and see why:
Bryce has since been interviewed by national publications and on cable news programs including MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
O’Donnell pointed out that only twice in history has a Speaker of the House lost an election. The first in 1862 and again in 1994. In 1994, Speaker Tom Foley was defeated after having won the last three elections by declining margins from 60% to 30% to 10%.
By comparison, Paul Ryan won in 2016 with a 35% margin over his challenger, but over the last several months, Ryan has lost approval in the polls by nearly ten percentage points. He currently has a favorable rating of just over 29%.
When O’Donnell questioned the wisdom of running what would seem like an impossible race, Bryce countered with,”If you want to see something that’s really impossible, I have a hard hat you can borrow, and I will take you out to a job site in downtown Milwaukee.”
Bryce criticized Ryan for his lack of attention to the working people of his district bt pointing out that in the last 600+ days he has not met with any of the district’s constituents, but he has had time to participate in 50 fund-raisers that cost participants $10k a plate.”He’s not doing anything for the people of the first Congressional district, and we’re upset that we’re not being heard.”
During another interview with Jeff Stein from Vox.com Bryce explained a little more about his campaign.
I’m for working people. I expect a lot of ugliness to come from the other side, and I’ve faced it being a spokesperson on behalf of working people issues in the state. So my skin has gotten pretty thick.
I’m not taking money from Wall Street or the big banks or the corporations — that’s out.
The person I’m running against, Paul Ryan, though he claims not to have time for public town halls in the district, he’s had over 50 town halls where people give him $10,000 to have a picture taken with him.
I’m not going to chop off my arm and get into a boxing ring with somebody. What I’m going to do is accept help from causes I already support. I’m not taking money from anyone who is hurting working people.
As an ironworker, Bryce knows all too well the everyday struggles working men and women face. He credits this for his decision to support Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election although he stops short of labeling himself a Democratic Socialist.
The only label I take on is as an advocate for working people. Once you accept a label, you’re boxed in. What has socialism brought us? You have parks, the ability to use flush toilets, which are kind of useful. But to say that it couldn’t have happened without socialists — who knows? I just know the issues I care about are what people in my neighborhood are worried about.
We will be keeping an eye on Randy Bryce. Maybe Paul Ryan should, too.