JANESVILLE, Wisconsin — Paul Nehlen, the Republican candidate for Congress in Wisconsin’s first congressional district, is challenging incumbent member Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to a debate before Tuesday’s primary election.
Ryan has thus far refused to debate Nehlen, and the Speaker of the U.S. House’s political handlers are running a controlled campaign—not allowing him to do any real interviews with national reporters, town halls with voters without pre-scripted questions, or public events open to the press. Thus far, Ryan is only doing friendly interviews with local talk radio hosts who are his friends—and not asking him any tough questions.
Nehlen said in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News:
For nearly two decades, Speaker Ryan has worked AGAINST Wisconsin’s workers. So I’m calling on Speaker Ryan to return home to Wisconsin to discuss his nearly two-decade career of working against Wisconsin’s workers on behalf of his globalist special interests. Speaker Ryan should answer for shipping American jobs to China, bringing in an endless stream of cheap labor, funding Obama’s executive amnesty, and keeping our borders open.
Nehlen noted that Ryan’s highly controlled, stagecrafted campaign is a sign he’s refusing to answer Wisconsin voters’ questions. He said:
Speaker Ryan is refusing to return home to answer to Wisconsin’s voters. Yet he has the gall to ask us for another term? If Speaker Ryan thinks he deserves another term in Congress, but we have questions about his repeated betrayals. Wisconsin cannot afford another term of Paul Ryan. A vote for Paul Ryan means we are guaranteed to get amnesty, job-killing TPP, and jail-break criminal legislation that will compromise our safety. So I’m calling on Paul Ryan to make himself accountable to the voters he has betrayed.
Nehlen specifically questioned whether Ryan is too scared—or incapable—of debating him, even though he’s just a “guy who started as a maintenance mechanic on a factory floor.” He went on to say:
It’s not enough for the people’s representative to sit behind a camera or hide behind his security agents and avoid the people as if he’s royalty. Does Speaker Ryan really hold Wisconsinites with such disdain that he doesn’t feel it necessary even to speak to them as he auditions for another term in his job? Speaker Ryan owes the people of Wisconsin the chance to ask him questions about his vision for a borderless United States – one flooded with refugees and illegal immigrants willing to work for pennies on the dollar. The House’s top-ranking Republican ought not have a problem debating a guy who started as a maintenance mechanic on a factory floor, but apparently Mr. Ryan isn’t up to that task. Wisconsin and America deserves better.
Ryan’s spokesman Zack Roday has not responded to a request for comment from Breitbart News in response to Nehlen’s call for a debate in front of the voters of Wisconsin’s first congressional district.
Ryan has not really ever, until now, faced a serious challenger for his congressional seat. Nehlen represents the first-ever actual campaign against him, despite unserious challenges throughout the years since Ryan was first elected in 1998. Ryan has been in Washington for nearly 20 years, and was even selected as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, when Ryan and Romney failed to defeat President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. As Rolling Stone magazine noted in a collection of Tweets from the 2012 vice presidential debate between Ryan and Biden, Ryan’s performance was widely panned even by Republicans. Therefore, it’s unclear at best whether Ryan would even be able to stand up to Nehlen in a debate.