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Milwaukee Mag

How Randy Bryce Can Change the Game

“Ironstache” is running against Paul Ryan and he could really win!

Kris LaGrange's picture
Mar 16, 2018

Last June, Randy Bryce kicked off his campaign for Congress against House Speaker Paul Ryan. In a video that went viral, the union Ironworker called out Ryan for his efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act and offered to trade places with him, saying “You can come work the iron and I’ll go to DC.” The American Union Movement instantly fell in love with him.

 

In the 9 months since the ironworker affectionately known as “Ironstasche” has taken the political world by storm. By the end of 2017, Bryce has raised a stunning $1.2 Million from 82,000 individuals. The average donation to his campaign has been between $24 and $25. While Ryan has much more money on hand, roughly 10 times as much as Bryce, throughout the first six months of 2017, Bryce out-fundraised Ryan by a 6-1 margin. This prolific fundraising has made him one of the best-financed challengers in the country.

The best part about this is that Bryce has stuck to his roots. While many candidates change their views to placate whoever they are in front of, Bryce is continuing to push his positive pro-worker message.

The video that went viral has also helped to raise Bryce’s profile. Immediately after the video hit Youtube, it was being discussed on The View. Interviews with national papers and magazines like Esquire, Mother Jones, and even GQ. He has also become a mainstay on the cable networks. All of these appearances have helped him not only raise money but build his profile.

The first district in Wisconsin isn’t exactly the most liberal place in the state, let alone the Country. They have elected Ryan overwhelmingly. In 2016, Trump won the district by double digits. Yet, Bryce thinks that by sticking to his working-class roots, he can get elected. On the campaign trail, Bryce is talking about bread and butter issues, like raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, fully staffing OSHA, and renegotiating NAFTA. Since healthcare was one of the reasons that he decided to challenge Ryan, he is also supporting Medicare for all, also known as single payer.

In February, Bryce made history when he became the first candidate to recognize a staff union on a political campaign. Bryce credits his strong support for organized labor to the fact that it literally saved his life. After joining the Army, Bryce was delivering appliances to make ends meet. After suffering from chronic pain, he went to the doctor where he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Bryce needed surgery right away but had no health insurance. To save his life, he allowed himself to be a Guinea pig for an experimental, student treatment. Once healed, his mother tipped him off to an ironworkers apprenticeship. He jumped at the chance to learn a trade. Thanks to the insurance provided by his union, he was able to get the continuing test and treatments needed to live cancer free. “I don’t live for the union,” he once said. “I am alive because of it.”

All of Bryce’s hard work seems to have paid off. In an interview with Sarah Silverman on her Hulu show I Love You America, Bryce said: “We’ve done polling that shows that, when we have a positive statement of him (meaning Paul Ryan) versus a positive statement of me, that we’re actually up three points.” While this may be an outlier, other polls have shown Bryce within striking distance, only a few points back and today CNN announced that they were moving their race rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican.

With this momentum and work ethic sending “Ironstache” to Washington seems like it could be a reality and what a gamechanger that will be. If you would like to help be a part of that change, click here to contribute.

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