Speaker Paul Ryan Easily Fends Off Challenger in Wisconsin Primary

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan appeared to be heading for victory in a primary race for his congressional seat on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

With about 83 precincts reporting, Ryan had won in a lanslide over Nehlen with an 84 to 15 advantage.

Last week, Trump caused a three-day rift within the GOP when he initially withheld endorsing Ryan for re-election, saying he was "not quite there yet".

"There is a lot of anger that Washington just isn't working", Ryan said in his victory speech. But under increasing pressure from establishment republicans, Trump ultimately endorsed Ryan. During the campaign, Ryan mostly ignored the upstart Nehlen, who was largely an afterthought until recently, when Trump praised him.

He added: "We can't afford another four years like the Obama years, and let it be very, very clear, that is exactly what Hillary Clinton and her party are offering".

Associated Press called the vote for Ryan about half an hour after polls closed, leaving his long-shot opponent in Wisconsin's first district, Paul Nehlen, to face defeat. Ryan has said he needed to speak out on occasion to keep people from mistakenly believing all Republicans' views are similar to Trump's.

Nehlen won the backing of some prominent conservative figures, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but it wasn't enough to overcome Ryan's popularity in the southeastern Wisconsin district he has represented since 1998.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Nehlen thanked his supporters for an "amazing journey".

Nehlen tried to link himself to Trump's outsider status.

. But Ryan, who had downplayed the challenge, easily handled the businessman by a 5-1 margin.

No House speaker in modern political history had lost a primary, and Ryan was keen to avoid the fate that befell House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 2014 primary, when his political career ended due to a tea party challenger. Some depicted the race as a battle for the direction of the Republican Party, and Nehlen drew the support of some big names outside of Wisconsin, including political commentators Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin and Phyllis Schlafly.

He ran well to Ryan's right, accusing Ryan of betraying Trump and favoring a "globalist agenda" of disastrous trade deals and porous borders. In one video, he even rode his Harley-Davidson, showed his tattoos, and challenged Ryan to an arm wrestling match.

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