Republican Bryan Steil has won Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District race. The political newcomer beat his Democratic challenger Randy Bryce, a union ironworker.
Steil will replace GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced in April that he wouldn’t seek re-election this fall. This marks the first time in 20 years that there was an open seat in the state's 1st Congressional District.
Steil says the win came because he and his team and supporters worked hard over the last six months talking to Wisconsinites about what he calls “pocketbook issues.” Steil says he'll try to lower the cost of health care, scale down the size of government, narrow the skills gap and produce higher wage jobs in Wisconsin.
He talked about those themes as he thanked supporters in his victory party in Burlington. “Tonight is a victory for economic progress," he said to applause. "For less red tape and smaller government. Tonight is a victory for increasing access to affordable health care, For keeping more of our hard earned money in our pocketbooks here in southeast Wisconsin.”
In addition to working on economic issues, Steil has pledged to advocate to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Steil's win means Republicans retain control of the seat that Paul Ryan held for two decades, in a district that includes Racine and Kenosha counties.
Steil has been called Ryan’s “hand-picked successor.” He worked as Ryan’s congressional staffer for a short period. Ryan endorsed him, and a super PAC aligned with Ryan launched ads trumpeting Bryce's nine arrests and branding Bryce a deadbeat for failing to pay child support.
Steil is general counsel for Charter NEX Films Inc. The company is an independent producer of polyethylene film used for food and consumer packaging. He previously worked eight years as a corporate attorney at electric motor manufacturer Regal Beloit Corporation.