Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]
RACINE, WI – Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel released an article about the Congressional Leadership Fund attack ads, the way the ads are hurting Randy Bryce’s son, and how Randy’s ex-wife has asked to keep their family out of attack ads.
By Mary Spicuzza and Dan Bice
Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce and his ex-wife are pushing back against attack ads calling him a “deadbeat,” saying they are hurting their family — especially their 12-year-old son.
“Now D.C. politicians are putting our family’s personal business all over the news and television, right where our son can see it,” Faye Boudreaux, Bryce’s ex-wife, wrote in a letter that was provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by his campaign. “In the 12 years that Randy and I have been blessed with our son, we have always worked together to put him first.”
In the ad, which launched last week, a woman named Nancy Douglass talks about her experience raising children as a single mom, as well as her daughter’s struggle to collect child support from the father of her child. She adds that Bryce also failed to pay child support, concluding, “Randy Bryce is a deadbeat. He’s not fit to serve in Congress.”
Douglass resigned as chair-elect of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association trade group the same day the Journal Sentinel reported on criticism she faced for appearing in the ad.
Bryce, who’s also known as “Iron Stache,” is in a hotly contested race against GOP candidate Bryan Steil for the southeastern Wisconsin seat being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The attack is being aired by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC endorsed by Ryan that has reserved at least $1.5 million in airtime to help Steil, a former staffer for the speaker.
The GOP group has run a series of increasingly personal attacks on Bryce, a union ironworker who became something of a liberal folk hero with his opening campaign ad.
Bryce has come under criticism in one TV spot for his nine arrests, including one from some 20 years ago for operating while intoxicated and three for driving with a suspended license. Another commercial produced by the super PAC features Bryce’s brother James endorsing Steil and accusing Bryce of “cop-hating rhetoric” without mentioning him by name.
But it was the “deadbeat” ad that drew a sharp response from Bryce and his ex-wife.
The Journal Sentinel reported last year that the state placed a lien on Bryce’s property in September 2015 because he had fallen behind on his child support payments. Bryce paid off the $1,257 debt two months after launching his congressional bid.
Boudreaux had resisted an overture last year to speak out in support of Bryce despite his delinquent child support payments, saying she didn’t want to get involved in the campaign.
In May, she released a brief statement saying Bryce was a “loving father” and “has not hidden from the public that he fell on hard times in the past,” but asked people to drop the issue.
Then, after last week’s ‘deadbeat’ ad, she told Bryce she wanted to respond to it.
“I have asked that this matter be put to rest,” Boudreaux wrote in her letter. “Yet I turn on the TV, check my phone or social media, or open my mailbox, and I see I was ignored.”
Her statement doesn’t address Bryce’s role as a spouse, focusing instead on him as a father.
“No couple goes into marriage thinking of divorce, and, while at times Randy and I might disagree, I am still very grateful for the supportive and respectful co-parenting relationship we have,” Boudreaux wrote.
Bryce said he expected to face GOP criticism, but didn’t expect such vicious, personal attacks. He added that his son, Ben, saw the ad before he had a chance to explain it to him.
“It’s really sad to see the CLF, you know, the Republicans, stoop to the level that they’re doing. I mean, my son watches TV,” Bryce said. “He asked, ‘Dad, what’s a deadbeat?’ So I have to explain to him what’s going on. And that’s a conversation that’s hard to have.”
“It’s almost like he’s being neglected in some way. And that’s never been the case. And to imply that is just, it’s really horrible,” he added. “We’ve always put our son first.”
Bryce said some of his son’s classmates have been asking about the attack ads.
“That puts him in a spot that he feels he has to defend his dad,” Bryce said.
About Randy Bryce
Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in Southeast Wisconsin, and went to public school. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.