Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump loomed over the race due to Ryan’s complicated relationship with the brash billionaire. Speaker Ryan initially refused to endorse his party’s then-presumptive nominee and Nehlen proudly stood with Trump. Nehlen tried to make the race national in the sense of Trump versus Ryan. Nehlen also tried to make the race local by saying that Speaker Ryan was out of touch with his district. Critics of Ryan were hoping that he would be “Cantored” in reference to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) who lost his primary after being seen as dissociated with his district.
Ryan, however, had continued to keep strong ties to his district and reports of his demise were premature.