A super PAC backed by House Republican leaders has gone on the attack against Randy Bryce, a Democrat with an arrest record competing for the Wisconsin congressional seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R).
“Squad Car 5-8-0. We have reports of a swerving vehicle. Do you read?” the dispatcher says.
The officer responds: “This is Squad Car 5-8-0. We’re on the scene. We have a drunk driver in custody. . . . His name is Randy Bryce. Repeat offender.”
Bryce, an iron worker and Army veteran who secured the Democratic nomination on Tuesday night, has portrayed his arrests as a learning experience. He was also arrested more recently while protesting Republican policies in Wisconsin.
Cathy Myers, a grass-roots activist and local school board member, sought to make an issue of Bryce’s record — there have been nine arrests in total — during the Democratic primary, but Bryce easily prevailed on Tuesday.
After launching his campaign in June 2017, Bryce became a favorite of progressives because of his support for unions and liberal causes, including a $15 per hour minimum wage and abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“I’m not perfect, but I know the struggles working people go through,” Bryce said in a statement after his arrests became an issue in the race. “I understand the mistakes that any of us can make. I’ve certainly learned from mine.”
The super PAC ad takes a less charitable view.
“Nine arrests?” a narrator says. “Randy Bryce has no business making the laws. He’s spent his life breaking the law.”
In the November general election, Bryce will face Bryan Steil, a lawyer endorsed by Ryan.
In Tuesday’s primary, Steil defeated a self-described “pro-white” nationalist candidate, Paul Nehlen, who was banned from Twitter after sending a racist message targeting American actress Meghan Markle before her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry. Nehlen received more than 6,500 votes, or about 11 percent of the GOP turnout.
Michael Scherer contributed to this report