Who’s Running for Paul Ryan’s House Seat in Wisconsin?

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Paul D. Ryan at a news conference on Wednesday in Washington. His announcement that he will not run for re-election opens up a House seat in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, a traditionally conservative area. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

When House Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election in November, it left Republicans with another open seat to defend in a midterm cycle that has already led to dozens of retirements.

But even before Mr. Ryan’s surprise announcement, several candidates had emerged to challenge him in the race for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, a traditionally conservative area in the southeastern corner of the state. Barack Obama carried the district in 2008, but lost it in 2012. In 2016, Donald J. Trump won it by more than 10 points.

The filing deadline to run for the seat is June 1, leaving potential candidates with plenty of time to organize a campaign ahead of the Aug. 14 primaries. Here is a look at some of the candidates already running.

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Randy Bryce in Janesville, Wis., in February. Credit Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette, via Associated Press

Randy Bryce

Tweeting under the handle @IronStache, Randy Bryce is a mustachioed ironworker, Army veteran and liberal media darling who has appeared frequently on cable news to criticize Mr. Ryan.

Ahead of the Democratic primary, Mr. Bryce has focused his campaign on a left-wing wishlist of policies that include strengthening labor unions, raising the minimum wage and enacting universal health care.

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Last year, he gained attention last year for a campaign commercial that featured his mother, who has multiple sclerosis.

Randy Bryce for Congress Campaign Announcement Video by Randy Bryce for Congress

While he has run unsuccessfully for local and state office three times before, Mr. Bryce, a union activist, has been endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this time around. He raised $2.7 million through the end of 2017, according to the Federal Election Commission.

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Paul Nehlen in Janesville in 2016. Credit Scott Bauer/Associated Press

Paul Nehlen

The most prominent conservative challenger to Mr. Ryan has been Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist and anti-Semite who challenged Mr. Ryan in 2016 and lost by 68 points. He raised $166,000 in 2017, according to the Federal Election Commission.

He is opposed to free trade, has called for deporting all Muslims from the United States, and wants the government to fortify the border “every step of the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean,” according to a statement on Wednesday.

In February, he was suspended from Twitter after he posted a racist image of Meghan Markle, the American fiancée of Britain’s Prince Harry. The Republican Party of Wisconsin cut ties with him shortly thereafter; a state party spokesman said he had “no place in the Republican Party.”

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Cathy Myers in Janesville in February. Credit Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette, via Associated Press

Cathy Myers

Also running for the Democratic nomination: Cathy Myers, a schoolteacher and member of the board of the Janesville school district. Like Mr. Bryce, she supports a long list of liberal policy positions, including gay and transgender rights, gun control and universal health care.

But she has chafed at Mr. Bryce’s media attention and relative fame. When he secured the support of the party’s congressional campaign committee, she criticized Mr. Bryce as a Washington insider, saying in a statement that “progressives in Wisconsin don’t need folks on the coasts to tell them what’s best for them.”

Ms. Myers raised $265,000 through the end of 2017, according to the Federal Election Commission.

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Nick Polce

A first-time candidate running for the Republican nomination, Mr. Polce is a former Army Green Beret and local businessman who has received little attention compared with other candidates. He supports building a wall on the Mexican border and opening up parts of Social Security and Medicare to the free market.

He raised nearly $18,000 through the end of 2017, according to the Federal Election Commission.

2018 Election Calendar and Results

A full list of elections for the House and Senate, including which races matter most for congressional control.

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