Report: Paul Ryan challenger paid off delinquent child support

MILWAUKEE — A Democratic challenger to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan paid off delinquent child support two months after entering the race, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported union ironworker Randy Bryce, who calls himself "Iron Stache" and has emphasized his blue-collar background, was delinquent on paying his child support for nearly two years.

The state placed a lien on Bryce's property holdings in September 2015 because he had fallen behind on his child support. Two months after launching his congressional bid, Bryce paid off the $1,257 debt on Aug. 31. He is now up to date.

Campaign aides say Bryce fell behind when money was tight, but that Bryce and his ex-wife made sure they met all of their 11-year-old son's obligations.

The newspaper reports Bryce, a 52-year-old military veteran, has had other financial problems, including bankruptcy in 1999.

Bryce's campaign said his money problems show he can identify with people struggling financially.

"Unlike Ryan, he knows what it's like to struggle and will approach his job from a place of deep understanding as opposed to zero empathy," Bryce campaign manager David Keith said.

Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers is also running as a Democrat in the 1st Congressional District in southeast Wisconsin. Myers said she is a single mother who has struggled to provide for two now-grown children.

"When my ex-husband got behind on his child support, I had to take a second job," Myers said. "I put my personal interests aside and focused all my attention on providing for my family."