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Mom wants ad pulled featuring 1 son criticizing another

September 19, 2018

FILE - In this July 8, 2018, file photo, Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, answers a question during a debate in Lake Geneva, Wis. Bryce's mother, Nancy Bryce, is calling for an attack ad featuring Randy's brother James to be taken off the air. The ad was unveiled Tuesday, Sept. 18 by a Republican super PAC linked to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bryce is running against Republican Bryan Steil to replace Ryan in the southeast Wisconsin congressional district. (Angela Major /The Janesville Gazette via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The mother of Wisconsin congressional candidate Randy Bryce doesn’t like to see her sons fight.

Nancy Bryce, in an open letter Wednesday, called for an attack ad featuring Randy’s brother James to be taken off the air.

“My family deserves better than this,” she wrote. “All families deserve better than this.”

Randy Bryce, known by the colorful nickname “Iron Stache,” is a Democrat running to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is leaving Congress. Bryan Steil, a former Ryan aide, is the Republican running in the southeastern Wisconsin district.

Bryce burst onto the national scene with a slick campaign launch video last year where he wipes away tears as his mother talks about the pain she is in and drugs she’s taking for multiple sclerosis.

Her son James Bryce is a police officer and a Republican who has given money to Ryan and Steil and even contemplated running against his brother for the seat.

In an ad released Tuesday that was paid for by the Ryan-aligned super PAC the Congressional Leadership Fund, James Bryce endorses Steil and says he can’t vote for his brother because he has “shown contempt for those in law enforcement.”

Randy Bryce has been arrested nine times, first for drunken driving in 1998 and more recently for protesting the policies of Ryan and Republicans. The campaign ad shows an image of his mug shot and video of police taking him away in handcuffs at a protest.

In her letter, Nancy Bryce doesn’t criticize her son James for cutting the ad, but she blames Ryan, the Republican Party and the super PAC running the spot as part of a $1.5 million buy in the Milwaukee television market.

“I’m used to my sons getting into disagreements with each other -- every mom is,” she wrote. “And I understand that my boys see the world differently when it comes to politics. ... Unfortunately, some political operatives see it as a chance to exploit those differences for their own benefit.”

She said those behind the ad aren’t considering “a mother’s pain at seeing her children used as tools in a political fight,” and she called on Steil to denounce the ad and to ask the Congressional Leadership Fund to pull it.

Steil’s spokesman, Andrew Iverson, declined to comment but the super PAC stood by the ad.

“This ad explains everything Wisconsin voters need to know about the race. Randy Bryce is unfit to serve in Congress,” said CLF spokesman Michael Byerly.

James Bryce has an unlisted phone number and Byerly did not respond to a request to speak with Bryce.

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