The Slatest

Paul Ryan Overcomes Late Trump Twitter Meddling to Demolish Republican Primary Challenge

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at Republican National Convention on July 19.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan was able to overcome Donald Trump’s late meddling in his primary race, beating overmatched businessman Paul Nehlen in the Republican primary Tuesday in Ryan’s southeastern Wisconsin congressional district. Early returns showed the speaker of the House snagging 80+ pecent of the vote. Ryan outfundraised Nehlen 17 to 1 and largely ignored his candidacy throughout the race, but the Nehlen campaign got a late flicker of life courtesy of the earned media master himself, Donald Trump.

That tweet, sent a week before the primary, was classic Trump trolling of Ryan, his on-again-off-again Republican establishment pal. It came as Ryan was critical of Trump’s comments about the Khan family’s appearance at the DNC. Nehlen tried to cast himself in the model of Trump, and even got the absurd endorsement of absurd Sarah Palin, but Trump later backtracked and more or less offered up his support for Ryan’s candidacy.

“Polls in Wisconsin consistently showed Ryan hovering above 80% support,” according to CNN. “And Trump lost Ryan’s district to Ted Cruz by 19 percentage points in Wisconsin’s presidential primary.”