6 Questions for Paul Nehlen, the Man Running Against House Speaker Paul Ryan
6 Questions for Paul Nehlen, the Man Running Against House Speaker Paul Ryan
If you haven’t heard, House Speaker Paul Ryan has himself a primary challenger: Self-described executive, entrepreneur, and inventor, Paul Nehlen. And Mr. Nehlen is not just any challenger, he characterizes himself as “arguably Paul Ryan’s biggest supporter,” having donated much of his time to Ryan’s campaigns. Mr. Nehlen was kind enough to take a few moments from his hectic schedule to answer a few questions for our readers.
Victory Girls: You’ve been described in some media as a “businessman and job creator,” “a bad ass biker,” and an “insurgent candidate.” Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, and what your primary motivation is for challenging Speaker Ryan?
Paul Nehlen: I’m a manufacturing guy to the marrow of my bones—started my career as a maintenance mechanic on a factory floor and worked my way up to run that same company. I’m also an inventor, and all of my inventions have applications in manufacturing. The process of making something—taking it from an idea and raw materials all the way to a useful finished product—is something I’ve never been able to top. The day I learned Paul Ryan had voted for fast-track Trade Promotion Authority and greased the skids for the job-killing, industry-decimating, district-leveling crony trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the fuse to run against him was lit. As a guy who’s run everything from small to large manufacturing operations and created a lot of jobs, I know that TPA/TPP will literally strike a deathblow to American manufacturing, jobs, and workers—never mind American sovereignty. I couldn’t stand by and watch it happen.
Victory Girls: In your opinion, what is the most detrimental thing Paul Ryan has done, warranting removal from office? And in fairness, what do you think is the most beneficial thing Speaker Ryan has done while in office?
Paul Nehlen: Without a doubt, the most detrimental thing Paul Ryan has done is to sell his vote to Big Donors. He’s betrayed the people of his district. He’s betrayed the American people—all to represent the Big Donors handing him wads of cash. That choice has affected literally everything else Ryan’s done. It explains his support of TPA/TPP. It explains his enthusiasm for expanding H1B and other visa programs that already put too many Americans on the unemployment line. It explains the $1.8 trillion Omnibus spending bill he helped to create and shepherd through Congress. It explains his embrace of wide-open borders. It’s a clear explanation for his Puerto Rico bailout plan, which will open the floodgates of moral hazard and expose American taxpayers to far greater risk in the future. It explains a whole long list of his bad votes. He’s bankrupt on principle. As for the most beneficial thing he’s done while in office—at this point, you have to go back a ways, further than I’d prefer. But perhaps one could say it’s actually to step out into the sunlight and show us his true colors as an elitist who stands only for his own interests.
Victory Girls: You’ve expressed support for Donald Trump. Can you tell our readers, many of whom question Trump’s conservative credentials, how you’d earn their vote?
Paul Nehlen: To clarify, I’ve said I’d support Donald Trump because he’s gone out and actually campaigned, earned votes and won delegates. That’s the electoral system at work, and I respect that system. I respect the will of the voters. I utterly reject any attempt on the part of a handful of party elites to manipulate and upend the electoral process and the will of voters who took the time to go to the polls and make their voice heard. In regard to earning trust and votes from people here in Wisconsin’s 1st District, I am spending every minute I have between now and election day demonstrating, in as many ways as I possibly can, that what matters to the people of this district matters to me at a core level—and that Paul Ryan’s agenda is no longer theirs. I’m focused like a laser on stopping Paul Ryan’s cronyism, on exposing what he’s actually doing, on reclaiming Wisconsin’s 1st District for the people who live and work here. They’re supposed to have a voice and someone who’ll respect it, represent their interests properly. But it turns out that the voters of this district just don’t have enough money to hold Paul Ryan’s attention. Representing special interests inside the Washington Beltway turns out to be a lot more lucrative.
Victory Girls: What would you do differently than Speaker Ryan, and why do you feel you’d serve the constituency of Wisconsin’s 1st District better than the Speaker?
Paul Nehlen: My background matches the history and character of this district. My lifelong career in manufacturing and engineering is a perfect fit. Paul Ryan, by contrast, drove the Weinermobile out of college, then pretty much went straight to work in government. He’s never built anything. He’s never run a business. He’s never made a payroll. He lacks a fundamental understanding of what has historically driven this district. By contrast, I’m in support of the business owners, small and large, who are creating jobs for people in this district. They interviewed for, secured, or promoted into and maintained those jobs, much to the chagrin of Paul Ryan and his crony Washington buddies. Paul Ryan is working to undermine the efforts of people in this district—and across America—to live out the American dream. Paul Ryan has a vision of a borderless society, where workers are no more than widgets—just cheap labor to be moved around at will by powerful elites. The Founders envisioned something much different. They established a republic—a representative system of government in which the common man was meant to have a voice in government, the liberty to make his own choices and create a successful life. I’m not interested in fame or fortune. Unlike Paul Ryan, I’m not interested in making a career in Washington. I’ve demonstrated that. Until now, I’ve been out creating American jobs. As a citizen, I’ve worked in the background to secure the election of others who I thought would work on my behalf. At this point, I simply wish to see this republic restored—and, in particular, to ensure that the voices of people in the 1st District are heard again. Paul Ryan clearly isn’t interested in doing that job well. He’s not interested in doing it at all. I am.
Victory Girls: Speaker Ryan enjoys a high approval rating. What is your opinion on the mood of your district? Are the voters ready to make a change?
Paul Nehlen: Up until now, the voters of Wisconsin’s 1st District haven’t had a choice. Paul Ryan hasn’t had a viable challenger for a very long time. Four weeks ago, no one even knew my name. The first week I was in this race, I had 0 percent. The second week, I might have had 0.1 percent. But with this campaign’s initial efforts to communicate our message into the public sphere, we now have our first clear indications—thanks to some of Paul Ryan’s surrogates, by the way—that in recent days I’ve already managed to secure 15 percent of the vote in this district. That support is growing every day. It’s like wildfire. In fact, I’ve already acquired 4,000 donors. That’s astounding. My campaign team and I are invigorated. No longer can Paul Ryan hide behind polling that doesn’t reflect a strong contender. Now there’s a warrior advocate for this district, someone who’s entire career has been established on building solid, profitable businesses that ultimately serve as a vehicle for individuals not simply to sustain themselves but to soar above mere subsistence, to pursue their own dreams and goals. I got into this race suspecting that I wasn’t the only one who felt betrayed by Paul Ryan. Turns out I was right. It’s true that there are still a good number of people in this district who don’t know Paul Ryan has a challenger or all the ways he’s sold them out. But my team and I are making sure that there are fewer of them every day. We trust that by Election Day the voters will be ready for a change.
Victory Girls: Although not impossible, entrenched incumbents are notoriously difficult to unseat. What is your general plan to defeat Speaker Ryan and his significant war chest, and should you succeed, who might you propose to replace him as Speaker?
Paul Nehlen: The general plan of this campaign is to take our message straight to voters—and, even more importantly, to listen to them. That’s key. They haven’t had a voice for a very long time now. We want them to remember what it’s like to have one. We offer them a way to take their voice and their district back. We’re not going to stand around and lecture people or pontificate to them about how we know better than they do. They’ve had plenty of that already. I’ve put a significant amount of my own money into this race, but I certainly don’t have enough to compete dollar for dollar with Paul Ryan’s mountain of campaign cash. We’re going to need help, and we encourage anyone who feels betrayed by Paul Ryan to get on board with us in whatever way they are able. Financial contributions to the campaign are needed and welcome. We’re also grateful for people who are stepping up to make phone calls on our behalf, knock doors with us, and spread the word about this campaign. Is this a David and Goliath story? Absolutely. No question. But we all know how the story of David and Goliath ended.
Mr. Nehlen released a campaign ad a couple of weeks back aimed squarely at Paul Ryan. If you haven’t yet seen it, it’s worth two minutes of your time to get to know him a bit better:
We thank Mr. Nehlen for taking time from his busy campaign schedule to answer questions for our Victory Girls readers, and wish him luck in his endeavor.