Republican challenger Nehlen considers 2018 rematch with Speaker Ryan

Vying for 1st Congressional District seat
Republican challenger Nehlen considers 2018 rematch with Speaker Ryan

After being defeated in the August 2016 Republican primary, Paul Nehlen is considering re-challenging Rep. Paul Ryan.

Nehlen said that Ryan’s poor leadership and his new bill to replace the Affordable Care Act are his main motivation for considering running again.

“Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill that he’s put out, it’s not in the best interest of Wisconsin. It’s not in the best interest of America,” Nehlen said.

Ryan has said the new bill, the American Health Care Act, would repeal and replace Obamacare, but Nehlen doesn’t agree.

“Most importantly, it should be said that Paul Ryan’s bill doesn’t even repeal Obamacare according to its own language,” Nehlen said. “The first page of the bill explains that this bill simply amends Obamacare. Anything short of a full repeal should be dead on arrival.”

Nehlen has dubbed Ryan’s new healthcare bill, “Obamacare 2.0.”

“Had Speaker Ryan engaged with his constituents and his own caucus ahead of launching this bill, he wouldn’t find himself in the situation that he’s in,” Nehlen said. “There’s a lot of us who would love to support Speaker Ryan if he were doing the right thing, but we’re compelled to push back against him doing the wrong thing.”

Nehlen said Thursday that on a scale of one to 10, he’s an eight, leaning toward a nine to run against Ryan again. He said he learned a lot during his first election run, and should he run again, this time would be different.

“You become more savvy as a candidate in the process of running,” Nehlen said. “So yes, absolutely, in the next go-round, should there be a next go-around, I will be a different candidate. I’ll still be the same guy, but I’ll be a different candidate.”

He said his decision to run will be based on how well Ryan is handling his role.

“Is Speaker Ryan going to listen to conservatives? Is he going to listen to America?” Nehlen said. “I don’t think anybody should be surprised that I’m incensed because I feel like they’re incensed, and on their behalf is why I will end up running.”

Ryan won 84 percent of the vote for the August 2016 Republican primary.