Janesville attorney and businessman Bryan Steil is lining up support in advance of an expected announcement that he will run to replace the outgoing 1st District representative, Paul Ryan.
Andrew Iverson, chairman of the Republican Party of Rock County, issued a one-sentence statement Monday, saying: “Bryan Steil is reaching out to friends from all six counties (in the 1st Congressional District) and is honored and encouraged by the support he is receiving.”
Steil is the only Republican remaining who was widely considered a possible candidate for the 1st Congressional District who hasn’t formally declared his intentions.
State Rep. Samantha Kerkman of Kenosha County announced Monday she is “setting aside an opportunity to run for Congress this year.”
The Republican race opened up last week when Ryan announced he would not seek re-election. Several prominent 1st District Republicans later said they would not seek the seat.
Steil, a member of the UW Board of Regents and longtime GOP activist, said last week he was seriously considering a run.
Steil works as general counsel for Charter NEX of Milton, a plastics manufacturer.
GOP sources who asked not to be identified said Steil would make an announcement “in the very near future.”
Those backing Steil if he decides to run include Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave and Nancy Milholland, co-founder of the Racine Tea Party, a source said.
The Wisconsin Tea Party took a swipe at Steil on Friday, predicting on its Facebook page Steil would run and calling him “a former lackey to Paul Ryan” who “will be bought and paid for by big GOP donors and corporate colleagues.”
GOP sources told The Gazette that Mary Stitt, who has worked on campaign finances for Ryan, is working with Steil.
Other hopefuls for the Republican ticket, who joined the race before Ryan’s announcement, include Paul Nehlen of the town of Delavan, who was banned from Twitter for what many saw as bigoted posts, and Nick Polce of Lake Geneva.
Candidates must collect at least 1,000 signatures and file nomination papers by June 1 to be included on the ballot.
If multiple candidates attain ballot status, a Republican primary election would be Aug. 14.