Facing long odds, potential Speaker Ryan challenger sees uptick in fundraising

Ironworker Randy Bryce raised $2.1 million in the first quarter of 2018.

“We have a lot of enthusiasm to repeal and replace Paul Ryan,” Bryce told ABC News in an interview Monday.

Impressive fundraising totals aside, Bryce’s bid to pull off a major political upset in the southeastern Wisconsin district remains an uphill battle against Ryan, who won the district by more than 30 points in 2016 and has nearly $10 million in cash on hand according to FEC filings.

"Just because we call it likely as opposed to safe doesn’t mean that he’s in some sort of pressing danger. But there are certain things going on in that district that I think merited it being listed among borderline competitive House races," Kondik said.

Ryan has said little about the potential for a close race in 2018, and last month swatted down rumors that he was retiring this term, with a spokesperson for the Speaker categorically denying that he is resigning.

A spokesperson for Ryan’s re-election campaign declined to comment on the new fundraising totals announced by the Bryce campaign.

Bryce is attempting to take advantage of what could be a wave election for Democrats and is banking that his blue-collar, working-class credentials will win over enough Republican and Independent voters to make the race competitive.

“We’re welcoming everybody. Republican, Democrat, hard-working people are hard-working people,” Bryce, whose mustache has earned him the nickname “IronStache,” said of his bipartisan appeal.

"It would depend on who she’s running against," Bryce said, referencing the potential that Pelosi will face a challenger for her role as leader.

Bryce joins a small but expanding list of candidates, including the victor in last month's special election in Pennsylvania's 18th district Conor Lamb, who have either said they will not support Pelosi or are undecided on whether or not they will vote for her as House Democratic Leader.

Bryce downplayed the Pelosi issue, saying it's not something that voters in the district are focused on.

"As far as voting for a party leader, that’s not a question that people ask me when I’m talking to them at events," Bryce said.

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