WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s confident Republicans will triumph at the polls in November, while at the same time acknowledging that midterm elections are often tough for the president’s party.
Ryan delivered an upbeat message to Waukesha County Republicans Saturday night and said of the GOP nationally, “We’re going to win.” He cited Republican successes under President Donald Trump, including tax cuts, regulatory reform and approving a slate of new federal judges.
Ryan noted that midterm elections are often tough for the president’s party and said Democrats “are going to try and psych all of us out, so that we can say, ‘Oh, gosh, midterm elections are so hard.'” Ryan is facing a Democratic challenge from Racine County iron worker Randy Bryce.
Ryan said Republicans would work hard, pass reforms and win, drawing sustained applause from the audience. But Democrats in Washington are increasingly optimistic that they can flip 24 GOP seats to take back the majority in the House.
The Wisconsin Republican also discussed the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but made no mention of whether Congress will take up gun legislation. Ryan said “we’re all still praying and grieving; our hearts are still kind of sunk” because of the shooting.
Ryan said the 19-year-old suspect in the shooting “slipped through a whole bunch of cracks. So, No. 1, we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.” He added, “We have to make sure that people who are mentally unstable … don’t have the ability to go do this.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came to Racine on Saturday in support of Bryce. Sanders sought to portray Ryan as working for moneyed interests, including the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, while saying Bryce represents the interests of hard-working families.
“Randy is not just running against Paul Ryan … he is running against all of corporate America,” Sanders said.