I’m hoping this will be the last column I’ll ever write about Randy Bryce. I cannot recall meeting anyone so ill-equipped to serve in a government position, especially at taxpayer expense.
Bryce burst upon the political radar screen as the chosen one by Democratic Party leaders to take down Republican Congressman Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District. The Democratic Party, with help from out-of-district members of Congress, touted Bryce as an average Joe ironworker with a hard hat and mustache in contrast to a buttoned-down Ryan who happened to be speaker of the House.
MSNBC talking heads were aglow as East Coast liberals raised millions of dollars for Bryce. The Democrats didn’t bother to vet Bryce, but the media did. Well, most of the media. I remember a call from a Mother Jones Magazine reporter asking me about Bryce’s amazing rise.
Recalling Bryce’s many arrests, convictions and failure to pay child support for his son he featured in campaign ads, I predicted Bryce would not win. The reporter was shocked that I would dare question the song and dance he was getting from the far-left fringe.
When Ryan announced he would not run for re-election, the wind went out of Iron Stache’s sail. His campaign was all anti-Ryan. Without Ryan, Bryce had to run on his credentials or lack of them.
Anyone who knew anything about Wisconsin politics knew that if Ryan ever left office, Republican Bryan Steil of Janesville would jump in to fill the void. In the November 2018 election, Bryce defeated Steil 55 percent to 41 in Rock County but could not keep up with other Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin who polled 62 percent and Gov. Tony Evers who captured 58 percent of the Rock County vote. Without a stronger showing in the Democratic stronghold of Rock County, Bryce’s campaign was doomed.
After Bryce lost, people I talked with hoped he would just go away, take care of his personal problems and enjoy time with his son. He turned out to be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and a classic example of the requirement that a successful campaign must have a good candidate or at the very least the best candidate in the race. Bryce failed that test.
So, why is Bryce back in the news?
Incredibly, Bryce is now using money he raised to support Democratic candidates to pay himself a consulting fee and travel costs. The Federal Election Commission reports that not a single donation has been made by Bryce’s Iron PAC to someone running for office. WisPolitics.com reports that Bryce said he plans to support candidates later—later as in after he supports himself.
A consulting firm involved in Bryce’s congressional campaign is also the recipient of funds from Iron PAC.
Prior to creating Iron PAC, Bryce was a senior adviser for the progressive group Working Families Party. Who in their right mind would think Bryce is qualified as a family advisor unless you’re looking for advice on how to avoid child support?
The word is out that Bryce is toxic. Serious Democratic candidates will avoid him and anything he touches. Hopefully, Bryce will return to his private life for good this time.