Ironworker and star of viral video wins Dem primary for Paul Ryan's seat

Ironworker Randy Bryce, more popularly known as "Ironstache,” is projected to win the Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he 'never directed' Cohen to break the law | GOP reels from Trump shutdown threat | Alleged spy Butina pleads guilty to conspiracy charge The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act kneecaps American factory workers The Hill's Morning Report — Where the shutdown fight stands MORE (R-Wis.).

Bryce, the mustachioed 53-year-old endorsed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersJoaquin Castro says brother Julián is running for president in 2020 Sanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump MORE (I-Vt.), defeated local school board member and teacher Cathy Myers, 55, on Tuesday, The Associated Press projected, in a primary that turned bitter and personal. He won 59 percent of the vote in Wisconsin's 1st District, compared to Myers's 41 percent. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Bryce captured national attention with his emotional campaign announcement video. In it, Bryce's mother talks about the difficulty of affording life-saving drugs. At the end of the video, the ironworker calls on 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 to its “Red to Blue” program, which gives financial and organizational support to designated candidates.

Bryce’s video star power also translated into donations, and he outraised Myers by $5 million.

He backs a progressive agenda that includes single-payer health care, or “Medicare for all,” and a $15 minimum wage, a platform that is also supported by Myers.

Bryce was also one of the first Democratic candidates to call for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a movement that gained steam at the height of the family separations crisis that consumed the Trump administration in recent weeks.

The Democratic primary was heated and, at times, personal. 

Bryce weathered a number of negative headlines that included past arrests in the 1990s for driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana possession, which he has apologized for. He also endured stories about his failure to pay child support, which he started paying after launching his bid.

Myers sought to frame Bryce as unfit to serve in Congress and has used his past transgressions against him in campaign ads. But Bryce pushed back on Myers in his own ad that criticized her for “attacking” Sanders, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Comey’s remarks about Trump dossier are not credible, says former FBI official MORE and Rep. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreTime is money: Let’s open Social Security field offices, not close them Dem women rally behind Pelosi House lawmakers introduce bill to end US support in Yemen civil war MORE (D-Wis.), though the basis of the accusation against the school board member is unclear.

Bryce will face Republican Bryan Steil, an attorney and business executive endorsed by Ryan, who emerged the winner in the crowded GOP primary. 

Bryce goes into the general election with a money advantage over Steil, who jumped into the race nearly a year after the Wisconsin Democrat. Bryce has nearly $1.7 million on hand, compared to Steil’s $630,000.

Democrats believe they can win Ryan's seat now that the House Speaker is retiring after representing the district since 1999. The race is rated by Cook Political Report as "lean Republican."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed MORE won Ryan's seat by 10 points in 2016. And while former President Obama narrowly lost the district in 2012, he won it by 3 points in 2008.