Randy Bryce

Democrat Randy Bryce, of Caledonia, is preparing to challenge Speaker Paul Ryan for his House seat.

Randy Bryce

RACINE — Ten months after losing Wisconsin’s 1st District congressional race, Democrat Randy Bryce said he’s trying to help working people get into Congress with his new political action committee — Iron PAC.

Bryce, whose nickname is “Ironstache” after his moustache and previous work as an ironworker, rose to fame during the 2018 midterm election when he challenged then House Speaker Paul Ryan.

After Ryan dropped out of the race, attorney and University of Wisconsin Board of Regent member Bryan Steil entered and went on to defeat Bryce by roughly 40,000 votes in 2018.

Since the failed race, Bryce worked for about four months for the progressive group Working Families Party, working to recruit progressive candidates.

In March he started the Iron PAC.

Rob Duffey, national communications director for the Working Families Party, said of Bryce, “Randy will always be a part of the Working Families family.

“He’s a member and leader within the WFP,” Duffey said in an email statement. “Earlier this year we brought Randy on staff to help build our jobs and infrastructure campaign, and later he left to launch Iron PAC.

“We’re excited to see Iron PAC’s next steps, and look forward to partnering with Randy to build progressive power and elect working-class progressives to office.”

Having raised more than $8.6 million during his congressional race, Bryce said he plans on using his contacts and “renting” his donor list to other candidates around the country.

“We were able to raise a lot of money by telling a simple story and saying we need more working people in Congress,” Bryce said.

“Talking to other people, I’m always getting a lot of questions like, ‘How did you do this?’ or ‘How did you face this obstacle?’ Working people don’t know how to run for Congress.”

So far the Iron PAC has raised $23,736 and it has paid out $21,621 but not to candidates, mostly to consultants. Bryce himself has been paid $9,000 for “fundraising and consulting,” according to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

Relaunch

Bryce said he plans on relaunching the Iron PAC in the near future.

“We’re going to be switching the direction a little bit more so we can help more people,” Bryce said.

“It’s going to be not just on a federal level ... and it’s to help get enthusiasm for areas that (Donald) Trump just barely won.”

Those areas include Wisconsin, where Trump won the state by just over 22,000 votes over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Bryce hopes that the Iron PAC would be a place for candidates to go for advice and help raise money.

Bryce said he has helped raise about $5,000 for Amy McGrath, who is challenging Senate Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

Bryce added he is also helping Democrat J.D. Scholten in Iowa, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for his seat in the House.

“It’s kind of an alternative,” Bryce said. “It’s a place where people can reach out to ask for help and they can get it because there are still too many millionaires in Congress as opposed to working people.”

Infrastructure work

Aside from political campaigns, Bryce said he was hired to work for the Millions of Jobs organization, which is pushing for infrastructure legislation, particularly for House Resolution 36 which, if passed, could create millions of jobs through investments in roads, bridges and “21st-century projects.”

So far the bill, authored by U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, has 106 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

Bryce said now that Democrats control the House it is a good time to try to pass legislation on infrastructure.

“We understand that there aren’t enough votes in the Senate yet, but now that we have a majority in (the House) we could, at least, get that first step,” Bryce said. “Get (the bill) reintroduced and move it one more step than it was before.”

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