Thanking House Speaker Paul Ryan for his service, the Republican Jewish Coalition urged the party to seek an alternative to the racist candidate who is running in Ryan’s Wisconsin district.
Ryan said Wednesday that he would serve out his term as speaker, but would not run again this year in order to spend more time with his family.
Paul Nehlen, a far-right candidate who challenged Ryan in the 2016 primary and was beaten soundly, is mounting another run this year. He peddles anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish control of the media.
“Although a fringe candidate with abhorrent neo-Nazi views was already running against the Speaker, we are very confident that with the leadership of the Wisconsin GOP, the eventual Republican nominee to fill Paul Ryan’s House seat (WI-01) will be someone who upholds the GOP’s best values and traditions,” Matt Brooks, the RJC’s director, said Wednesday in a statement.
Nehlen has raised $160,000 for his run, according to the Open Secrets election monitoring website. The only other Republican contender, Nick Polce, an Army Special Forces veteran, has raised under $18,000. The primary is Aug. 14.
Jewish Democrats also weighed in.
“We call on the Republican Party to strongly disavow Paul Nehlen and on all Republicans to condemn Nehlen and his candidacy,” said the Jewish Democratic Council of America in a statement. “Anti-Semitic candidates must not be tolerated.”