The Washington Post’s liberal blogger/columnist Greg Sargent is reporting the Democrats are widening their target list in Congress after the Democratic victories on Tuesday. “One of those targets, I’m told: House Speaker Paul D. Ryan,” Sargent wrote.* Sargent also puts Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-WI06, on the target list.
Sargent reports that putting these races on the “target list” does not necessarily mean that more money is going to be spent on those races.
“The committee will actively recruit in them and lend staff, research, analytical and communications support to candidates in them and consider them for future expenditures,” Sargent wrote. He also conceded, “To be sure, these new targets represent major uphill climbs for Democrats.”
Those “uphill climbs” include Ryan’s district.
“Ryan, in WI-1, will be extremely tough to beat for obvious reasons, but he has an interesting challenger in blue-collar ironworker Randy Bryce,” Sargent wrote.
Unfortunately for the Democrats counting on Bryce, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice uncovered a major problem with Bryce’s candidacy. Bryce was over two months behind on his child support payments even after he entered the race. According to Bice:
The 52-year-old military veteran, who has featured his 11-year-old son in that online ad and in fundraising letters, was delinquent on paying his child support for nearly two years.
The state placed a lien on Bryce’s meager property holdings in September 2015 because he had fallen behind on his child support payments. Bryce paid off the $1,257 debt on Aug. 31, two months after launching his congressional bid.
Bryce accused Republicans of digging up the dirt in an op-ed for the Huffington Post after dodging Bice. However, Bice reported, “Republicans knew nothing about Bryce’s difficulties paying child support when first contacted for comment last week.”
Bryce’s opponent in the Democratic primary is not being distracted by the misdirection attempt.
“When my ex-husband got behind on his child support, I had to take a second job,” Cathy Myers told Dan Bice. “I put my personal interests aside and focused all my attention on providing for my family.”
What isn’t explained is how Bryce got caught up on his child support payments. If Bryce had the money saved, why didn’t he pay the missing child support earlier, before he decided to run for Congress? And if Bryce did not have the money until after he declared as a candidate, where did he get it from? Legally, someone just can’t give a candidate for public office $1,257.
Bryce is also facing an ethics complaint because he did not file his financial disclosure statement on time to the Federal Election Commission.
Grothman’s seat would also be an uphill battle, but he may have a tougher challenger in Dan Kohl, the nephew of former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl. Kohl comes from a wealthy family and may be able to self-fund a credible campaign. Meanwhile, Grothman has sounded the alarm about fundraising, telling WISN’s Jay Weber:
“Well, we’re not raising as much money as we should,” Grothman said. “I’m getting around the district. I’m getting a good response, but a lot of people don’t realize this is the toughest race of my political career. People can say I’m popular right now, but when you turn on the TV and every 10 minutes there’s an ad saying, ‘Glenn Grothman doesn’t like women, Glenn Grothman doesn’t like children, Glenn Grothman doesn’t like whatever, whatever, whatever,’ it’s going to become a very difficult race very quickly.”
However, Grothman won in 2016 with 57.2 percent of the vote after first winning his seat in 2014 with 56.8 percent. President Donald Trump handily defeated Hillary Clinton in Grothman’s district 55.7 percent to 38.8 percent.