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The Republican frontrunner in the race for Paul Ryan's House seat just raised a ton of cash in his first week on the trail

  • The Republican frontrunner in the race to fill House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat in Wisconsin's 1st District raised more than $250,000 during the first week of his campaign.
  • Steil entered the fray after Ryan announced earlier this month that he would not seek re-election to the seat he has held for two decades.
  • Republicans see Steil's immediate impact with donors as a sign of even better things to come.
Attorney Bryan Steil, a former driver for House Speaker Paul Ryan, announces he is running to succeed Ryan in Congress, Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Janesville, Wis.
Jake Magee | The Janesville Gazette | AP
Attorney Bryan Steil, a former driver for House Speaker Paul Ryan, announces he is running to succeed Ryan in Congress, Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Janesville, Wis.

The Republican frontrunner in the race to fill House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat in Wisconsin's 1st District raised more than $250,000 during the first week of his campaign.

Bryan Steil, who used to work as Ryan's legislative aide, announced the rapid fundraising haul in an email to supporters.

"We came out of the gates hard," Steil said in the email. "In just one week, we have raised over $250,000 and received an outpouring of support from across the district that is incredibly encouraging. We are just getting started."

A Steil campaign official confirmed the announcement to CNBC.

Steil entered the fray after Ryan announced earlier this month that he would not seek re-election to the seat he has held for two decades. The nonpartisan elections-analysis site Sabato's Crystal Ball called the race a "toss-up" after the speaker's announcement.

Steil's deep family roots in Wisconsin make him an ideal recruit for those looking to counter emboldened Democrats looking to flip the seat. Both Steil's father and grandfather were private attorneys who worked with clients across the Badger State.

Republicans see Steil's immediate impact with donors as a sign of even better things to come.

"I don't recall a race in Wisconsin almost at any level where out of the gate, a week after the announcement, that a candidate had raised $250,000. That is an amazing pace," Brandon Scholz, a veteran Republican strategist in Wisconsin, told CNBC. "For a campaign with the speed of this coming together, it means that they will continue move forward and enjoy more support."

Going into his campaign announcement Sunday, Steil had been courting some of the state's top donors and laying the ground work for a run for office. He also met with members of the Wisconsin state GOP delegation.

Steil currently is the general counsel and secretary at Charter NEX Films Inc., an independent producer of polyethylene film used for food and consumer packaging. He also is on the University of Wisconsin System's board of regents.

Steil serves as the first vice chairman on the Rock County Republican board. The largest town in the county is Janesville, home of the Ryan family.

Ryan has yet to endorse anyone running for his seat, but left the door open to getting involved with the election process within his home district. During a recent speech in Madison, Wis., Ryan said he will wait until after the filing deadline passes in June to decide whether he will support a candidate.

The primary is slated for Aug. 14.