A poll of likely Republican primary voters last week showed Delavan businessman Paul Nehlen trailing Rep. Paul Ryan by 64 points in Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District.
Nehlen's response, delivered in an interview aired Sunday on "UpFront with Mike Gousha": "What a great poll."
The poll by Remington Research Group, which surveyed 442 likely GOP voters, showed Nehlen with 14 percent support compared to 78 percent for Ryan, the nine-term incumbent who's also the Speaker of the House.
It looks like a big hill to climb, but Nehlen said the poll results showed progress.
"Four weeks ago, I had no name recognition at all," he said in the TV interview, "and in four weeks I popped to 15 percent."
The poll was conducted with automated phone calls last Monday and Tuesday, after Sarah Palin told CNN last weekend that she would work to defeat Ryan. Nehlen has also received support from national conservative pundit Michelle Malkin.
Nehlen's challenge to Ryan has been getting traffic in various corners of the internet over the last week, some focusing on the ad in which Nehlen challenges Ryan to a debate or arm wrestling match.
"As my message gets out, people realize they have a choice now to put somebody in office who's going to represent them as opposed to what Speaker Ryan's being doing in representing the special interests down in D.C.," Nehlen said.
"I'm thrilled with those numbers. I've got over 4,000 donors. In four weeks I went to 15 percent and we've got roughly 13 weeks to go. So imagine where we'll be at the end of this."
Nehlen also used the interview to promote his business bona fides and contrast them with those of Ryan.
"I've got a factory up in Beaver Dam," Nehlen said. "I started out as a maintenance mechanic at 18 years old. I eventually ran that business; I ran businesses all around the country. I'm an engineer, I'm an inventor. I've got U.S. patents, I've got foreign patents. I was in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for a Fortune 500 (company). I've run businesses in Mexico, Canada, China. I know about business and about trade. I've made payrolls. Paul Ryan's driven the Wienermobile, for god's sakes. So for him to suggest he's got the solution to small businesses, as he wrote in his op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that's offensive to small business owners."
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