- Scott Olson/Getty Images
- Randy Bryce, a Democrat running for the Wisconsin congressional seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan, is being attacked by his own brother in a new GOP ad.
- James Bryce, a police officer and Republican who also considered running for the House seat, argues that his brother is hostile toward law enforcement.
- Randy Bryce’s mother was featured in her son’s viral campaign ad last year, in which she discusses her struggle with multiple sclerosis.
Randy Bryce, a Democrat running for the Wisconsin congressional seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan, is facing a particularly brutal attack ad featuring his own brother, a police officer, accusing him of inciting violence against law enforcement.
In the ad, James Bryce introduces himself as a police officer with 23 years on the beat and says that an uptick in violence against law enforcement can be partially attributed to “cop-hating rhetoric,” pointing to a 2012 tweet in which his brother calls police officers “terrorists.” He says this is one of “many” reasons he’s supporting Republican candidate Bryan Steil, a Ryan-endorsed lawyer, over his brother.
“When people refer to police officers as terrorists, that hits a little close to home,” says James, a Republican who at one point considered running against his brother for the congressional seat. “I don’t think people want to be represented by someone who’s shown contempt for those in law enforcement.”
— Congressional Leadership Fund (@CLFSuperPAC) September 18, 2018
A super PAC supported by Republican leadership is spending $450,000 on the ad and has set aside $1.5 million for TV and digital ads in the district. The same PAC released another ad this week attacking Randy Bryce’s record of drunken driving and marijuana possession arrests from the 1990s.
Randy Bryce, an iron worker and Army veteran who goes by “Iron Stache,” won national attention after his biographical campaign ad went viral. In the spot, Bryce’s mother discusses the 20 expensive drugs she takes to deal with her multiple sclerosis, and the candidate argues that Washington needs more working class representation.
Julia Savel, a spokeswoman for Bryce’s campaign, slammed the “divisive, dirty” attack ad as “about as Washington-style as it gets.”
“Randy is the proud son of a police officer and has a deep respect for law enforcement officers, including his brother, even when they have political disagreements,” Savel told Business Insider in an email. “Instead of joining Paul Ryan in the gutter, Randy is focused on his plans to help everyone get good healthcare, protect workers’ pensions, and save Social Security.”
Bryce, who’s running on a progressive platform that includes Medicare-for-all, is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of 33 candidates they hope can flip GOP-held seats to pave the path for Democrats to take control of the House this fall.
Bryce entered the race preparing to face attacks from his opponents, but it’s unclear whether he anticipated a campaign against him led by a family member.
“When I told my friends and coworkers, my mom was concerned. She’s like, ‘Randy, be careful. They’re going to come after you. They’re going to be dirty,'” Randy Bryce said of his decision to run for office in an interview with Business Insider last year. “I’m like, ‘Mom, they’ve been going after me. Not just me, everybody. They’ve been going after you, mom. They’re trying to take your healthcare away.'”
Steil is leading Bryce in polling – 50% to 44% – according to a mid-September New York times survey of 500 voters in the district.