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Bryan Steil defeats Randy Bryce in race to replace Paul Ryan

Republican Bryan Steil defeated Democrat Randy Bryce to take the seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Republican Bryan Steil has won the 1st Congressional House race against Democrat Randy Bryce in a race to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.

After announcing his retirement earlier this year, Ryan, R-Janesville, endorsed his former staffer, Steil, helping clear the field for him in the GOP primary.

Bryce, meanwhile, used Ryan as his foil. Initially Bryce’s bid was about toppling Ryan, but it morphed into beating someone who would continue Ryan’s policies.

Steil, running for office for the first time, emphasized his background as an attorney for Charter Nex, a Milton packaging manufacturer, and as a University of Wisconsin System Regent since 2016.

Bryce said being an ironworker helped him understand the struggles of working people. A U.S. Army veteran, he become increasingly politically active during the 2011 Act 10 protests and twice ran unsuccessfully for state Legislature.

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Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.