After news broke that House Speaker Paul Ryan is not seeking re-election and will retire from Congress after this year, voters and members of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District are wondering what happens next.
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House,” Ryan aide Brendan Buck said in a statement. “He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father.”
So what does this mean for his district? With Ryan’s retirement, analysts agree that the Democrats’ chances of flipping the seat would increase dramatically, giving his opponents a much better chance to win.
Randy Bryce, otherwise known as the “Iron Stache,” has long been a major player in the race to unseat Ryan, and with the news of Ryan’s retirement his chances, as well as those of the other candidates, may have just skyrocketed. So who is the man behind the Iron Stache?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bryce Exploded onto National Scene with a Viral Campaign Video Last June
Randy Bryce attends a March 28 rally in Janesville to show support for students who finished the last leg of a 50-mile march through Wisconsin to call attention to gun violence.
Bryce’s campaign has centered heavily on painting himself to be a working class man – a union leader for seven years, an ironworker for 20, a single dad and an army veteran. His campaign announcement video portrays Bryce in the same light; Bryce, wearing a hard hat, tells Paul Ryan, “Let’s trade places…You can come work the iron, and I’ll go to DC.”
Bryce was quickly thrown into the national spotlight and rose to a sort of political fame after his campaign released the video in June, 2017. Bryce gained a tremendous amount of national popularity ranging from every day, working-class folks like himself, to high-profile politicians like Bernie Sanders.
Bryce’s campaign video focused heavily on the importance of healthcare. The video featured an emotional scene with his mother talking about her painful condition and the 20 medications she takes that would cost thousands of dollars without insurance.
“It’s a very painful condition,” his mother says in the video. “It’s like hot knives going through, and you can’t talk, you can’t swallow. It’s terrible.”
The video resonated with viewers and quickly went viral, amplifying Bryce’s voice and his working class image and propelling him into the spotlight.
2. Bryce is a Cancer Survivor, Single Dad and Union Activist, Serving Ironworkers Local 8
GettyRandy Bryce speaks at a rally on February 24 in Racine.
Randy was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, retired a few years later and found his calling as an ironworker. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s …read more