Charisma Caucus

No Surprises in the Wisconsin GOP Primary

Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan easily won his primary election Tuesday over businessman Paul Nehlen. (Reuters photo)

Going into Tuesday's Republican primary, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) faced two different story lines.

In one, he was going to win by a landslide—most internal polls gave him about an 80-point lead—and in the other, he was going to make history as the first sitting speaker to ever lose an election. At the end of the night, the result was much closer to one than the other.

With about 87 percent of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Ryan was leading his opponent, businessman Paul Nehlen, 84 to 16 percent.

In his concession speech, Nehlen referred to Ryan as the "world leader of the globalist movement." And while he conceded the loss in the primary election, he sounded less than defeated, urging his supporters to launch a movement to "liberate" Wisconsin's First Congressional District.

"It begins, my friends, with the people in this room tonight. So, I ask you this question: 'Are you prepared to carry on with me tomorrow, and next week, and two years from now to liberate this district?'" he said before being interrupted by applause and chants of his name. "'And to free this country from its failed leaders and to replace the soulless globalism with a new Americanism—a new Americanism that respects the inherent worth and dignity of every person in this land?' I am with you, and I will be with you if you join me every step of the way."

Ryan, in his victory speech, was far from conciliatory. He swatted back at Nehlen, suggesting that the businessman failed to win because he was trying to divide the electorate rather than unite them.

"There is a lot of anger that Washington just isn't working," he said. "In times as uncertain as these, it is easy to resort to division. It's simple to prey on people's fears. That stuff sells, but it doesn't stick. It doesn't last. Most of all, it doesn't work. We can't afford another four years like the Obama years, and let it be very, very clear, that is exactly what Hillary Clinton and her party are offering."

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