Paul Ryan Twitter Goof a Fundraising Boon for Democratic Challenger

Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce has raised more than $150,000 since tweet

Randy Bryce, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’’s 1st District, used Paul Ryan’s own words against him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the always-raging spin war between Democrats and Republicans, Democratic candidate Randy Bryce got the upper hand over the weekend on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

Bryce captured a screenshot of one of Ryan’s tweets and turned it around into a fundraising drive for his campaign to unseat the speaker in Wisconsin’s 1st District.

Ryan tweeted Saturday about a public high school secretary in Pennsylvania who said her $1.50 pay raise each week would “more than cover her Costco membership for the year.”

Before Ryan deleted the tweet, Bryce took a screenshot. He then asked his followers to “chip in $1.50 now to help us repeal and replace Ryan permanently this November.”

In the 48 hours since he initiated the drive, Bryce has raised more than $150,000 from 12,253 donors across all 50 states, his campaign team said in a press release. Nearly half donated $1.50 to his campaign.

Ryan isn’t the only politician whose own words have been used against him in messaging battles over the tax code overhaul passed in December.

Republicans have repeatedly hammered House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California for saying the $1,000 bonuses millions of Americans received after the tax overhaul became law were “crumbs” compared to “the bonus that corporate America received.”

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s office has published at least a dozen press releases ribbing Pelosi’s “crumbs” comment.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also had some fun with the phrase.

“If you’re going to say $1,000 is crumbs, you live in a different world than I live in,” Pence said last week at the Republican congressional retreat. “Any leader in America that would say $1,000 in the pockets of working families is crumbs is out of touch with the American people.”

Bryce raised nearly $2.7 million in 2017, a huge sum for a challenger in an off-year before midterms, per his FEC files. But that was just a fourth of the $10.1 million Ryan raised.

Bryce, a former ironworker widely known on social media as “Iron Stache” for his bushy, brown lip hair, faces steep odds in a red district like Wisconsin’s 1st.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.Correction 12:50 p.m. | Paul Ryan did not meet the secretary he cited in his deleted tweet, as an earlier version of this story reported.

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