The Janesville Gazette:
The 1st Congressional District race is a story about Randy Bryce’s shortcomings as much as Bryan Steil’s qualifications.
With a lengthy arrest record and a history of falling behind on child-support payments, Bryce is in no way congressional material. How Bryce managed to defeat Cathy Myers, a school teacher and Janesville resident, in the Democratic primary would be a mystery except that Bryce benefited from a much larger campaign war chest.
A candidate’s character matters less today than it once did, but Bryce’s personal failings are extraordinary, even by today’s crumbling standards for our nation’s leaders. The problem is not so much Bryce’s past mistakes but that he showed an inability to learn from them. He didn’t rack up merely one OWI in 1998 (plenty of voters can identify with this). He was then picked up three times for driving with a suspended license and was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear.
And lest there be any doubt as to whether Bryce is a “changed man,” the state of Wisconsin placed a lien on Bryce’s property in 2015 for delinquent child-support payments to his ex-wife. Bryce paid off the debt only after announcing his candidacy last year.
His background more closely resembles the kind routinely encountered by probation officers, not 1st Congressional District voters. To attempt to twist his arrest record into a symbol of the everyday working man, as Bryce’s campaign has done, is perhaps one of the most cynical and offensive ploys we’ve ever witnessed.
While we’re not fans of negative campaigning and believe every candidate must make a case for himself, Bryce’s personal failings are too egregious to ignore. The stakes are too high for someone of Bryce’s caliber to slip into office.
The Gazette could have mentioned, but may have run out of space to additionally mention Bryce’s odious self-comparison to those who worked, and died, for civil rights in the South in the 1960s. “Civil rights” do not include skipping out on child support obligations.