Having a criminal record or being a sexual predator or both is a resume enhancement for DemocRats.
Randy Bryce, the Wisconsin Democrat running to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), has been elevated by national Democrats, but he has a long history of arrests, including pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated in 1998, in addition to eight other arrests.
Two of Bryce’s most recent arrests– in 2011 and 2018– stemmed from protesting the policies of Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson (R. Wis.) in his Milwaukee office. However, the majority of his arrests are the result of Bryce driving under the influence, which resulted in him being arrested three more times for driving with a suspended license, according to CNN.
While Bryce’s arrests in 2011 and 2018 have been reported on extensively, the other arrests have not been covered by the media. CNN obtained public records about Bryce’s April 1998 arrest in Schoolcraft County, a small, rural county in Michigan. Michigan classifies the offense as an OUI, which is known in other states as a DUI, or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Bryce initially pleaded guilty, then later failed to appear in court in Michigan and a warrant was put out for his arrest. Bryce ultimately appeared in court again in March 2003, where he was sentenced to 65 days in jail, though the judge immediately suspended the sentence, and Bryce received credit for one day served in jail and paid $850 in fines. He was also ordered to complete four days of community service.
After having his license suspended following his 1998 OUI in Michigan, Bryce was arrested three more times for driving with a suspended license and registration in Wisconsin.
In September 1998, Bryce was arrested in Milwaukee County and pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license, for which he was ordered to pay a $124.90 fine.
In October 2000, Bryce was arrested in South Milwaukee for driving with a suspended license and had to pay a $1,000 bond. Bryce, who had recently begun working as an ironworker, didn’t qualify for a public defender, and the court entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. In December, he failed to appear in court and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Bryce was arrested under the warrant in February 2001, and after being held in jail for one day, was released after paying a $500 bond. In March 2001, he pleaded guilty and paid a $200 fine.
In January 2003, Bryce was again arrested in South Milwaukee for operating a vehicle with a suspended license, though it was later amended to operating without a license. He pleaded guilty and paid a $100 fine instead of having a suspended license for another two years.
Bryce released a statement to CNN about his previous arrests, specifically drive under the influence, saying that there was “no excuse” what he did twenty years ago.
“There is no excuse for what I did 20 years ago when I got behind the wheel and operated under the influence. I made a mistake and I regret it. I’ve worked very hard to learn from my mistakes so I can be a man my son can be proud of. I’m not perfect, but I know the struggles working people go through. I understand the mistakes that any of us can make. I’ve certainly learned from mine.”
Bryce was also arrested in Wisconsin on his 27th birthday in 1991 for marijuana possession, property damage, trespassing and theft. While the theft and trespassing charges were dropped, the other charges were not. When reached for comment, campaign spokesperson Julia Savel told CNN that Bryce doesn’t remember the court’s decision.
Bryce’s spokesperson Savel released another statement about the vehicular arrests that occurred after his OUI.
“To put this in context, when this happened Randy had recently beaten a late-stage aggressive form of cancer during which time he didn’t have health insurance. He was able to dig himself out of bankruptcy which was related to his mounting medical bills because he started his new career as a union ironworker,” Savel said. “Randy has made mistakes, and as he said, there is no excuse for his actions. But he also has worked hard to right his wrong and grow from the experience, like so many other working people find themselves having to do.”
Bryce will face off against part-time school teacher Cathy Myers in the August 14 primary.