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Search Continues As Republicans Pass on Running for Ryan’s Seat

State Sen. Dave Craig says he won’t run to replace his former boss

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks during a news conference announcing his retirement last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks during a news conference announcing his retirement last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wisconsin Republicans are still searching for a suitable candidate to fend off popular Democratic candidates in the once-safely red 1st District that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said last week he won’t run for again.

Wisconsin state Sen. Dave Craig, a former Ryan aide was the latest to pass on running for the seat Ryan is vacating at the end of his term, Craig tweeting Friday night that he was thankful for the support he had received from those encouraging him to run, but “the timing to run for Congress is not right for our young family .”

Other potential candidates the GOP hoped would jump into the race also passed on bids to replace Ryan after the speaker announced last week he would not seek another term in November.

Earlier Friday, Robin Vos, the speaker of the Assembly, announced on Friday he would not run to replace Ryan, who has represented the district for nearly two decades.

Watch: Lawmakers Seem to Like Ryan’s Lame-Duck Speakership Plan

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Reince Priebus, the former White House chief of staff and Republican National Committee chairman, is sitting out the race. Vos’ wife, former Wisconsin state Rep. Michelle Litjens, has also opted against running.

“While I know that our nation’s capital desperately needs more conservative reformers from Wisconsin, Michelle and I have decided that we can do more good continuing to push state-based conservative reforms,” Vos said Friday.

The GOP has until June 1 to field a candidate before the filing deadline. If they don’t, only lesser-known candidate Nick Polce and far-right conservative Paul Nehlen, whom the party has disavowed for anti-Semitic and racist statements, will be on the ballot for Republicans.

On the Democratic side, steel factory worker Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce and schoolteacher Cathy Myers have raised considerable amounts of campaign cash and gained social media fame.

Bryce had more than $2 million cash on hand at the end of the first filing quarter of 2018, per his FEC reports.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Lean Republican.

President Donald Trump carried the district by 10 points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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