Businessman Paul Nehlen, a Republican primary challenger to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the Republican Party of Wisconsin is barring his campaign from setting up a table at the upcoming state party convention.

But the party calls Nehlen’s claim “incredibly misleading,” saying his campaign is at fault for blowing a deadline to register for the event.

Nehlen, R-Delavan, is challenging Ryan, R-Janesville, in the Aug. 9 primary. A post at Nehlen’s website claims the state GOP “barred my campaign from having a table at its state convention,” which is May 13-15 in Green Bay.

“My campaign committee, Volunteers for Nehlen, was perfectly willing to pay the $400 table fee RPW asked for convention weekend,” the post said. “Apparently, though, the idea of a challenger to Paul Ryan was so threatening to his RPW buddies that they turned us down flat.

“Isn’t it revealing that Paul Ryan–a politician who’s long said he’s for free markets–allows his establishment friends in the Wisconsin GOP to protect him from competition in the political marketplace?”

Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesman Pat Garrett said no one in the party is trying to stand in Nehlen’s way.

“He missed the deadline for table registration, and he was not granted space just like other campaigns who missed the very same deadline — no campaign was treated differently,” Garrett said. “Tickets to our state convention are still available and he is welcome to purchase and attend.”

Nehlen’s campaign could not immediately be reached Friday to confirm if he did, in fact, miss the deadline.

One other Republican, Spencer Zimmerman of Janesville, also has filed to challenge Ryan in the primary in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.


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