Randy Bryce is an ironworker, a star in a viral video and the projected winner of the Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Bryce, more popularly known as “Ironstache,” is endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). He defeated local school board member and teacher Cathy Myers, 55, on Tuesday, according to a projection by The Associated Press.
In a primary that turned bitter and personal, the 53-year-old ironworker won 59 percent of the vote in Wisconsin’s 1st District, compared to Myers’s 41 percent.
Bryce captured national attention when his emotional campaign announcement video went viral. In the video, Bryce’s mother talks about the difficulty of affording life-saving drugs. At the end of the video, the ironworker calls on Paul Ryan to “trade places” with him.
The union organizer, won the endorsement of Sanders late last year and was elevated by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to its “Red to Blue” program, which gives financial and organizational support to approved candidates.
Bryce’s viral video also translated into donations, and he out-raised Myers by $5 million.
He backs a progressive agenda that includes single-payer health care, or “Medicare for All,” and a $15 minimum wage, and Bryce was also one of the first Democratic candidates to call for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Bryce withstood a number of negative headlines that included past arrests in the 1990s for driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana possession. He also endured stories about his failure to pay child support, which he started paying after launching his bid.
Myers tried to paint Bryce as unfit to serve in Congress, and has used his past transgressions against him in campaign ads.
“Ironstache” will face Republican Bryan Steil, an attorney and business executive endorsed by Ryan, who emerged the winner in the crowded GOP primary.
Do you think he can turn this seat from red to blue?