This first appeared in the RightWisconsin Daily Update on Monday, May 7. 

Dear Readers,

Democrats have a problem. Since House Speaker Paul Ryan decided not to run for re-election, Wisconsin’s first congressional district should be something of a competitive election. However, it may not be, and that’s causing some Democrats buyer’s remorse.

Yes, Judge Michael Screnock did win the district despite losing statewide, and Republicans did draw the lines to make the district more favorable to Republicans. In a normal year, this should be a lock for Republicans regardless of who is running. It’s likely, too, that Republicans will mostly rally around Bryan Steil, allowing him to focus on winning the general election.

However, it is a mid-term election with a Republican president and Democrats are even more motivated as they see every election as a referendum on President Donald Trump. With the number of Republicans retiring, Democrats see a real opportunity to win control of the House of Representatives.

But as the leftwing HBO program and website Vice has pointed out, the leading candidate for the Democrats, Randy Bryce, is terribly flawed. In addition to his previous election losses, Bryce’s child support delinquency is likely to be an issue in the Democratic primary. While he was behind on his child support payments, Bryce actually loaned his state senate campaign money. Bryce was also able to quickly pay his back child support once he declared for Congress, and was able to pay another debt, indicating that he probably had the means to pay off the delinquent child support earlier.

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In addition, Bryce’s financial and political support seems to be from mostly outside the district. According to Vice, 98 percent of his contributions are from outside the district. He actually spent money on ads in California to attract more attention and support for his campaign.

Even then, there are questions about how much support Bryce has. Vice uncovered five endorsements on Bryce’s endorsement list that never happened, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass). That’s in addition to the fake Twitter followers Bryce purchased in the last campaign.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) tried to clear the field for Bryce by asking state Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) to stay out of the race. Barca represented the district briefly in the 1990s and (unlike Bryce) would be a seasoned campaigner with a command of the issues.

But time is running short, and Bryce already has a war chest. Will Barca decide to make a run, or will he decide that the race is simply unwinnable at this point?

James Wigderson


The RightWisconsin Daily Update Archive
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