Republicans deserting Paul Ryan, Democratic opponent claims

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Democrat running against Rep. Paul Ryan claims a surge in support and donations from Donald Trump supporters.

The claim came in a news release Monday, but a spokeswoman for Democratic candidate Ryan Solen could not produce any proof the claim is true.

Lauren Young, chief of staff and press secretary for Solen, said she could not share the emails from Republicans supporting Solen because they were sent to the campaign and were not intended for publication.

And Young would not release how much money was donated, other than it was “significant.”

Asked if Solen would be running TV ads, Young said Solen is weighing his options.

Young said the Republicans now supporting Solen are upset Ryan rescinded an invitation to Trump to attend the 1st District Republican Party's Fall Fest in Elkhorn on Saturday and about Ryan's reported comments to House Republicans, saying they should follow their consciences when deciding whether to vote for Trump.

Ryan's actions came soon after the release of a 2005 recording of Trump talking in vulgar terms about women.

Still other Republicans are upset that Ryan hasn't rescinded his endorsement of Trump, Young claimed.

Solen has released numerous statements criticizing Trump and criticizing Ryan's continuing endorsement of the Republican nominee, but Young sees no disconnect with those statements and Solen's embracing of Trump voters.

"We're not supporting Donald Trump. We still don't think he's fit to be president,” Young said. “But Ryan Solen is committed to bipartisanship, and that starts with the people.”

Young said Tuesday morning she had received nearly 100 emails and dozens of phone calls.

Young said Solen might be attractive to these voters because, unlike a typical Democrat, he makes balancing the federal budget a priority and calls for Congressional term limits.

The Gazette asked Young to ask the Trump supporters to contact The Gazette so their existence could be confirmed. Only one did.

Seth Keshel of Cypress, Texas, said he is among conservatives who would vote for a Democrat in order to get rid of Ryan, if he could, but he would not be sending money to the Solen campaign.

Keshel said he contacted the Solen campaign because he is a Trump supporter and disagrees with Ryan on issues that include immigration and trade policy, so he was interested in ideas about how to get Ryan out of office.

Paul Nehlen of the town of Delavan tried to unseat Ryan in the Republican primary, using those very issues, but Ryan prevailed easily.

Zack Roday, press secretary for Ryan for Congress, predicted voters' strong support for Ryan would continue at the polls Nov. 8.

“Residents of the 1st Congressional District know who Paul is, and they know what he stands for,” Roday said. “He has a long record of principled representation and exemplary constituent service that speaks for itself.”

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