Republican Bryan Steil, former aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Democratic union ironworker Randy Bryce will challenge each other for Ryan’s House seat in November’s general election.
Steil beat out five other Republican competitors. He outraised them and secured the backing of prominent donors and Republicans, including Ryan who announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election this fall.
Steil is general counsel for Charter NEX Films Inc., an independent producer of polyethylene film used for food and consumer packaging. He previously worked eight years as a corporate attorney at electric motor manufacturer Regal Beloit Corporation.
Bryce, a union ironworker known as "Iron Stache," defeated Janesville schoolteacher Cathy Myers for the Democratic vote in Tuesday's primary. He captured national attention after releasing a video announcing his candidacy before Ryan announced his retirement. He's raised more than $6 million, six times what Myers brought in, and won endorsements from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and labor activist Dolores Huerta.
Democrats are optimistic for their chances to pick up District 1, the southeast Wisconsin district that Ryan has represented for 20 years. But opponents argue that Bryce's past, which includes failing to pay child support and a 20-year-old drunken-driving arrest, makes him unreliable and unelectable.