Randy Bryce, a union ironworker from Wisconsin, was a Bernie Sanders surrogate during the 2016 Democratic primaries. Now he’s running to unseat House Majority Leader Paul Ryan in the 2018 midterm elections.
Bryce will structure his campaign in the Sanders’ mold by selling himself as a genuine representative of the working class.
Bryce has his work cut out for him. Paul Ryan is one of the most well-funded politicians in Washington, and has the name recognition of a House Speaker and former Vice Presidential candidate. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s 1st district hasn’t elected a Democrat in 20 years. Ryan won reelection by 35 points in 2016 and Trump carried the district by 11 points.
Bryce is as an outsider, but he’s not new to political campaigns. He ran for Wisconsin’s state assembly in both 2012 and 2014, and for Racine County Board of Education in 2013. He lose all three races.
Bryce is hoping to raise $2 million in grassroots donations for his run. That shouldn’t be difficult to do considering the nationalization of recent state races, as Democrats attempt to put any and every seat in play with hopes of taking back the House and stopping the Trump agenda. Jon Ossoff just raised $25 million to run against Karen Handel in yesterday’s Georgia special election.
Mr. Bryce hopes his blue collar appeal will help to peel away disgruntled moderate Republicans.
“I’ve been an iron worker for 20 years. I work hard and I earn every penny that I make. And I know everybody that I work with is the same way,” Bryce says in an inaugural campaign ad that spread around social media like wildfire on Tuesday.
While the odds are certainly stacked against him, Bryce has a clear cut strategy that could prove successful in chipping away at Ryan’s lead. Bryce will tap into Bernie Sanders for progressive support and more effective fundraising. He will also focus on tying Mr. Ryan to President Trump, whose popularity has continued to shrink in the months following his election.
“They’re handcuffed together,” Bryce told The Wall Street Journal. “People are having buyer’s remorse and they’re seeing what’s going on. Trump made a lot of promises that I can see why working people would support, but now they’re waking up.”
Randy Bryce’s success will likely depend on how unpopular Trump becomes heading into the midterms, especially if Paul Ryan is unable to distance himself from the President.