Ryan wins primary by huge margin
© Greg Nash
 
Ryan on Tuesday defeated businessman Paul Nehlen in the primary for the 1st District seat he’s held since 1999.
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"I have been honored to serve this 1st Congressional District since 1998," he said during a press conference Tuesday night.

"It's been one of the best experiences of my lifetime, and I'm humbled that so many want to see my continue to work on their behalf."

Ryan said people in Wisconsin know him well.

"They know I believe that to serve is to work to become part of the solution, not be part of the problem.

"They share my desire for political leadership that is inclusive, not divisive. They look at the horizon and they look for hope, not fear. 

“Most of all, they want someone who works to effectively advance our founding principles."

Ryan acknowledged that there is a lot of anger in the country, adding that the leadership in Washington often fails to provide results.

"At times as uncertain as these, it is easy to resort to division, it's simple to pray on people's fears. The stuff sells, but it doesn't stick. It doesn't last. Most of all, it doesn't work," he said.

"Because we want to bring people together, not divide them, because we want to break the gridlock, not perpetuate it, because we want fresh ideas, not outdated ideas, Republicans are offering a better way to fix this country's big, pressing problems."

"Between now and November, I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure that the status quo, which isn't good enough, is not continued, because we can do better." 

Ryan’s primary became a flashpoint in the presidential race after GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants MORE said last week he wasn’t ready to endorse Ryan and praised Nehlen on Twitter.
 
Nehlen, who harshly criticized Ryan as “the head of the globalist snake,” sought to align himself with Trump and appeal to the businessman’s supporters.
 
But Trump eventually endorsed Ryan at a Green Bay rally on Friday, and a poll showed the Speaker leading Nehlen by 66 points. 
 
Former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweeted his congratulations to Ryan on Tuesday night and appeared to take a veiled swipe at Trump at the same time. 

Ryan took his time endorsing Trump, and the nominee followed suit last week, drawing ire from others in the GOP. 

“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump told The Washington Post last week. "We need very strong leadership ... and I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”

Trump's language was an apparent allusion to a May interview, conducted right after Trump became the party's presumptive nominee, in which Ryan said he was not ready to support him for president. 

But Trump circled back on Friday, saying, "This campaign is not about me or any one candidate, it’s about America," before ultimately endorsing the Speaker. 

But Nehlen had some high-profile supporters of his own. He was backed by conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, as well as 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who doubled-down on her support even after Trump endorsed Ryan.

Palin, an outspoken Trump supporter, wrote on Facebook that she was "proud to be standing with Paul Nehlen since May 9th." 

"Wisconsin, please vote for this man 'of the people' this Tuesday," Palin wrote last week. 

Rebecca Savransky contributed.