House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks at a press conference in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Tuesday after defeating challenger Paul Nehlen in the Republican primary. (Getty images)
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has won the Republican primary in Wisconsin, defeating political newcomer Paul Nehlen.
Ryan, who was officially endorsed by GOP nominee Donald Trump, received 84 percent of the vote on Tuesday compared to 16 percent given to his competitor.
“I have been honored to serve this 1st congressional district since 1998,” Ryan said during a press conference Tuesday night.
“It’s been one of the best experiences of my lifetime and I’m humbled that so many want to see my continue to work on their behalf.”
Ryan said he hoped Trump would clarify that he did not intend to trigger violence by saying earlier in the day that “Second Amendment people” would know how to hinder Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s bid to undercut gun rights if elected president.
“It sounds just like a joke gone bad,” Ryan told reporters. “I hope he clears it up very quickly.”
Trump initially refused to support Ryan, but after his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, backed Ryan, Trump followed suit on Friday.
Nehlen on Monday criticized Ryan and said people like him “have hijacked this great country of ours from us.”
“It’s absolutely criminal what these guys are doing,” said Nehlen in an interview with Breitbart News
Nehlen, who has used the Trump-Ryan row to his own benefit, said the presidential contest and the congressional race are centered around what he described as a situation in which the American people are repeatedly being lied to.
He said the control should be taken back from politicians “who should have never had it in the first place.”