Paul Ryan protege Bryan Steil wins mentor's seat over Randy Bryce

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Republican attorney Bryan Steil has won outgoing House Speaker Paul
Ryan's Wisconsin congressional seat, defeating democratic candidate Randy Bryce.

Bryan Steil Campaign

"Tonight is a victory for keeping more of our hard earned money in our pocketbooks right here in Southeast Wisconsin," he said.

Steil is a corporate attorney in Milton and also serves on the UW Board of Regents.

Steil says in office two things he will focus on include lowering health care costs and helping people prepare for future jobs.

"I'm looking to say 'how do we step forward economically? How do we continue to to put policies in place in Washington that grow the economy so individuals have an opportunity for better job or a higher wage job right here in Southeast Wisconsin?" he said.

Steil is a Ryan protege. He defeated Democratic ironworker Randy Bryce on Tuesday to earn the right to represent southeastern Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District for the next two years. His victory denies bragging rights for Wisconsin Democrats, who had targeted the seat after Ryan announced in April that he wouldn't seek re-election.

Bryce nicknamed himself "Iron Stache," a play on his vocation and his thick mustache. He generated $6 million in contributions. Bryce's platform included working for working families.

"It's about not being a backdrop anymore, not having working people be the backdrop, but actually coming up and grabbing the microphone, because it's about time that we're heard," Bryce said.

Bryce said in his speech that his campaign was never solely about winning a seat.

"It was about the whole picture, it was about taking back control of Congress, it was about standing up for working people," he said. "It was about pointing out the fact that if you're a African American in this district, you're in a horrible place and things need to change."

Despite the loss, Bryce said that his fight to give a voice to those without is not over.

"Tonight this is going to end one chapter for me, but that just means there's something to begin with," Bryce said. "Something ends, something always begins afterwards."

Steil worked for Ryan for a year in Washington. Ryan endorsed him. A super PAC aligned with Ryan launched ads trumpeting Bryce's nine arrests and branding Bryce a deadbeat for failing to pay child support.