After the news that Speaker of The House Paul Ryan would not be running for re-election began spreading, many Democrats began to claim it was because Ryan feared likely Democratic opponent Randy “Ironstache” Bryce. But the taunts aren’t rooted in statistical reality.
The Journal Sentinel reported that both of Ryan’s would-be competitors had a lot to say about his decision. In the article, it reports that the spokesperson for Bryce’s campaign commented, “Paul Ryan decided to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters.” Cathy Myers, another potential Democratic challenger in the race, said “Paul Ryan is running away from the harm his policies have caused our neighbors in Wisconsin’s First District and working families nationwide.”
Bryce took to Twitter with the message “WE JUST REPEALED PAUL RYAN,” while also tweeting that Paul should switch places with Bryce and “come work the iron, and I’ll go to D.C.” In two of his tweets about this issue, Bryce also linked to his donation page for his campaign.
BREAKING: WE JUST REPEALED PAUL RYAN
— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) April 11, 2018
While Democrats like Bryce seem to believe they were responsible for Ryan’s decision, the evidence suggests otherwise. From the Journal-Sentinel:
Seifert, the head of Ryan’s campaign team, pushed back on the notion the House speaker was forced from the race by the Democratic competition, calling such suggestions “laughable.”
“In reality, Speaker Ryan was in perfect shape to be re-elected by a significant margin, as he has been for the past 20 years,” Seifert said. “Polling this year has consistently shown the speaker winning re-election by 20 points, and he is sitting on one of the biggest war chests in the country.”
Ryan polling data provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel showed the Janesville Republican leading Bryce by 55% to 34% last month. The poll, conducted March 18-20 by Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a margin of error of 4.9%.
Ryan also has a formidable campaign war chest. Ryan likely had many reasons for deciding to end his congressional career. As one Republican strategist put it, fear of a “deadbeat dad” isn’t one of them.