Paul Nehlen, the America First conservative who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan in the 2018 primaries, was stonewalled and banned from a massive GOP event in his district over the weekend — and for the scrappy pro-Trump challenger, this means war.
Nehlen, for those unfamiliar, was the insurgent candidate who in 2016 helped to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal by getting chief cheerleader Ryan to go live on CNN and tell Manu Raju that the deal was poorly negotiated. Nehlen is challenging Paul Ryan for a second time, in an attempt to finally put a stop to the speaker’s relentless obstruction of the Trump administration.
Over the weekend, the Wisconsin Republican Party, desperate to protect their political elite, banned Nehlen from attending the 1st District Fall Fest, a popular GOP event that Ryan was speaking at. To make the ban even more egregious, in attempt to not make a fuss after the party failed to invite him, Nehlen purchased gold-tier tickets to the event himself — and encouraged his friends and supporters to do the same.
Kim Travis, the district chair, emailed Nehlen after he purchased the tickets saying that he would be refunded and was not welcome to attend.
“Thank you for your interest in the 1st District Fall Fest. Respectfully, we are declining your request to attend the event. We will return your payment. We stand by our policy of being able to decline requests in order to manage and deliver the best experience for all our guests,” Travis wrote in her email to Nehlen.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would be proud of her efforts to undermine a primary candidate.
Ryan lackeys went on to claim that Nehlen “isn’t really a Republican,” and therefore the ban of a primary candidate was somehow justified. Party underlings also began to attack Nehlen by accusing him of “doxing” her for posting her personal cellphone number along with the screenshot of the email. In response, Nehlen pointed out that Travis frequently publishes her phone number, which is used for official business. Her phone number is clearly seen in many posts, emails, and district newsletters.
The battle caused a massive rift in the 1st district, as people went to bat for Nehlen to have the right to participate as a candidate.
“You don’t have to like or vote for this man, but THIS is inexcusable. Please, hit the unfriend button. You are embarrassing,” a woman heavily involved in 1st district Republican politics wrote on her personal Facebook page along with a screenshot of the email sent to Nehlen. She also tagged Travis, adding that she is “beyond disappointed.”
Still, many close to Travis continued to claim that Nehlen was never “really” part of the Republican Party.
Unfortunately for the swamp defenders, Nehlen has receipts of his efforts with the Republican Party over the years in the form of emails which he has exclusively provided to Big League Politics. The emails focus on Travis herself, thanking him for his endless volunteering with the local GOP. In fact, the successful entrepreneur was so determined to help his party that he was volunteering even while purchasing a business and moving it from Canada to the United States, traveling back and forth between the east coast and Wisconsin, and running his other businesses as well.
Nehlen is now calling on Travis to step down in shame, for refusing to be neutral in the GOP primary race.
In the emails, Nehlen clearly has a friendly relationship with Travis, as they exchange pleasantries and plans for campaigns over the years. The two first met in October, 2014, when he volunteered to put up campaign signs.
“It was nice to meet you as well! All six signs gone,” Nehlen wrote in response to a GOP update from Travis on October 09, 2014.
Travis responded thanking him for his efforts, and asking if he could do more.
“Thanks Paul! That’s great!!!!!!” Travis wrote. “I have a couple of locations for signs if you have the time.”
Naturally, Nehlen responded happy to do so.
“Give me a call or send me a text or email with the locations and I’ll pick up more signs to plant,” he wrote.
The two continued to exchange emails as he worked to place signs around the district for GOP candidates. His above and beyond actions, and her appreciation, make it hard to believe that anyone could consider Nehlen to be anything but a strong Republican.
Soon, Travis was sending Nehlen personal emails containing phone scripts and directions for him to volunteer for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
“You should also add the disclaimer “this call is Paid for by the Republican Party of Walworth County, Bob Kordus Treasurer,” Travis wrote in the email containing the phone bank script.
Nehlen, ever cheerful in his responses, wrote simply, “rock on! Go team!” He tells Big League Politics that he utilized every free moment that he had, even if he was sitting an airport, to make those calls.
At the Fall Fest that year, Nehlen (who was a Diamond sponsor) also met Brad Schimel, who at the time was the Republican candidate running for Attorney General. He promptly volunteered to step up his campaign efforts for him as well.
On October 20, Nehlen wrote:
Nice to meet Saturday at Fall Fest. My fiancé [redacted] and I have been pounding signs for you and the Governor for the last month.
I just heard your ad on the Pandora and it occurred to me I could help making phone calls while away from Wisconsin between now and the election. I spend some time each month on the east coast and can dedicate an hour or two an evening to make calls for you guys.
Let me know how to help.
Paul F Nehlen III”
The following day, Nehlen received a response from his campaign team thanking him for the work he is doing on behalf of both Governor Walker and Schimel. The email read as follows:
“Hi Paul –
Thank you very much for everything you have on behalf of Brad (and the Governor). It is truly appreciated.
I have reached out to the state party to see if they have a way to make phone calls from home. I am not sure that it’s an option (usually they just make them in the offices and then knock on doors in local areas), but I do plan to find an exact answer for you.
Thank you again for all of your support,
Once again, like a dedicated conservative, Nehlen was more than happy to help however he could. He responded:
Thanks for the note. More than happy to help. We NEED those guys for Wisconsin to thrive!
Incidentally, I just received a message from Kim Travis with a call list for Walworth County. So it looks like I’m all set.
If you need something special my background is running Fortune 500 manufacturing businesses, among other things. You can look me up on LinkedIn.
All the best,
On November 5, Travis decided to email the man she is now barring from events, celebrating their big victory.
“WOOOOOHOOOO!!!! Sorry you weren’t able to join us last night! A little break – and then time to work on the Supreme Court race!” Travis wrote to Nehlen.
Again in January, Travis and Nehlen exchanged emails about potential breakfast event plans and how to make “Wisconsin ROCK!” Hardly seeming like a political outsider who is attempting to infiltrate their precious party.
Nehlen suspects Travis was promoted to 1st district chair on account of her squelching his candidacy in 2016 when he first challenged Ryan — as well as for her current refusal to acknowledge his participation in party activities, which is clearly not the case based upon the evidence we show here.
Speaking to Big League, Nehlen described his treatment from those he once volunteered his time for to be worse than he would expect from competing business owners.
“I’ve been treated better by business competitors than by my own party,” Nehlen asserts. “I’ve done business all over the globe and never been treated as poorly in business as I have been treated by the group that claims it is the conservatives in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district.”
Paul Ryan does NOTHING but prove he's liberal swamp creature#FireRyan Wisconsin!
— SparkleMAGA???????? (@SparkleSoup45) September 18, 2017
During his first campaign, Nehlen was praised by Trump for his support in a Twitter exchange that took place on August 1 — after Ryan had begrudgingly announced his endorsement of the now-president.
Thanks to @pnehlen for your kind words, very much appreciated.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
“I met President Trump after my election, but before his — I wrote about it in my new book. He was very complimentary of my race,” Nehlen said. “There was only a few of us in the room and I walked up to him and put my hand out and said ‘Mr. Trump my name is Paul Nehlen,’ and he said ‘I know who you are! You ran a great race in Wisconsin,’ with a big smile on his face. He was very encouraging for me to run again.”
Nehlen, like most other Trump supporters, believes that 2018 needs to be the year of putting new people in office who will support Trump’s agenda — unlike the RINO he is running against.
“I almost feel like there was a big wave that crashed onto shore and when the water receded, the only one standing there was Trump,” Nehlen previously told Big League Politics. “The next wave that comes in 2018, when it recedes, there needs to be a bunch of Trump supporters surrounding him and going to Washington to make the America First agenda a reality.”
In another previous interview with Big League Politics, Nehlen explained that he only had four months to campaign against Ryan during his previous bid. During that time, he was laser focused on stopping the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership — and he feels he was unable to fully introduce himself and his policies to the public. He is widely credited, however, with pressuring Ryan to finally oppose the TPP — legislation that would have been absolutely devastating to manufacturing jobs here in the US, according to experts.
Nehlen explained to Big League that the problem with Ryan’s flip-flop on the issue was the fact that the trade deal was negotiated for over half a decade by twelve nations and the Speaker whipped votes for Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama (and Ryan’s preferred candidate Hillary Clinton). The Fast track forces Congress not to make changes, but instead, limits Congress to an up/down vote on trade deals.
Since his last campaign, Nehlen has authored a book called “Wage The Battle” about the importance of running candidates who support the ‘America First’ agenda across the nation and produced a documentary about radical Islam’s global invasion.