The race to replace Rep. Paul Ryan in Wisconsin just got even more heated as a Republican group released a new attack ad targeting the Democratic candidate – using his own brother.
In the ad, James Bryce discusses his brother Randy’s criminal record and past comments about police officers. Randy is a Democrat who faces Republican Bryan Steil in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district.
James Bryce, who has been a police officer for more than 23 years, talks about an increase in attacks on law enforcement officials in recent years. The ad was released by the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super PAC with ties to Ryan.
“From my perspective, this has been motivated in part by cop-hating rhetoric,” James Bryce said. “When people refer to police officers as terrorists – that hits a little close to home.”
As James Bryce spoke, the video showed a 2012 tweet from Randy that linked to an article in The Progressive regarding arrests of demonstrators in the U.S. Capitol. In his tweet, Randy wrote, “When police become the terrorists…”
“I don’t think people want to be represented by someone who’s shown contempt for those in law enforcement. That’s one of the many reasons why I’m voting for Bryan Steil for Congress,” he said.
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Earlier this week, CLF announced a $1.5 million ad buy in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district. The first ad highlighted Randy’s numerous arrests.
Randy, a union worker known for his “Iron Stache,” was arrested in 1998 for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty, but initially failed to appear in court; he ultimately received a suspended sentence.
In 1991, he was booked for marijuana possession, trespassing and theft, among other charges. In 2000, he was arrested for driving with a suspended license; he was arrested for a similar charge in 2003. He’s been arrested a total of nine times, according to reports.
Randy, who has been endorsed by progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and labor activist Dolores Huerta, has apologized for the DUI, saying he “was immature and made a horrible, thoughtless decision.”
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CLF Executive Director Corry Bliss said the new ad “summarizes everything you need to know about this race.”
“Randy Bryce is unfit to serve and will not win this race,” Bliss said in a statement.
But David Keith, Randy’s campaign manager, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the ad just showed “Republicans are very scared because they know that this seat is prime for the taking, and Randy Bryce is in a unique position to win it.”
“You don’t go negative if your numbers are good,” Keith said.
Ryan, who has been House Speaker since October 2015, announced in April he would not be seeking re-election, opening up the seat for a contentious election. Steil is a former aide to Ryan who had his backing in the GOP primary.
Fox News has ranked the race as leaning Republican.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy and Gregg Re contributed to his report.