MOUNT PLEASANT -- If two of the Republicans running for House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat in Congress had their way, Ryan would've been forced from office a long time ago.
The two candidates endorsed term limits, disagreeing with the GOP frontrunner for Ryan's seat during a debate in Mount Pleasant this weekend.
Ryan announced this spring he would not seek re-election, ending a 20-year career in Congress. There are no term limits currently.
"I personally think that after five to 10 years, your effectivity is gone," said Adam Steen, an engineer from Burlington.
"Six years in the House, six years in the Senate and get out," said Nick Polce, a U.S. Army Green Beret veteran from Linn.
That put Steen and Polce at odds with Republican frontrunner Bryan Steil, who said he opposes term limits. Steil, a University of Wisconsin Board of Regents member and former Ryan aide, promised not to be a "career politician" but did not define what that meant to him.
"The risk of term limits is that it's going to give power to these Washington, D.C. bureaucrats and take the power away from individuals here in the state of Wisconsin," said Steil.
In past comments, Ryan has said he has "always supported" term limits.
During the debate, Steen and Polce repeatedly criticized congressional leaders, though they never mentioned Ryan's name.
"We have a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican Congress right now, and we are still fighting our president," Steen said.
Asked if they disagreed with President Donald Trump on any issue, Steil said "I don't agree with the tactics" of the president's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The tariffs have caused other countries to retaliate, and Wisconsin business leaders have recently said the flare-up has cost their bottom lines.
Ryan has said he opposes President Trump's tariffs.
Five Republicans are running to replace Ryan. The other two, liberal protester Jeremy Ryan and 2016 candidate Paul Nehlen, are not members of the Republican party and were not invited to participate in the debate, said Racine County GOP Chairwoman Lisa Bell.
Wisconsin Republicans distanced themselves from Nehlen this year after he made a series of social media posts criticized as racist or anti-Semitic.
Union ironworker Randy Bryce and Janesville school board member Cathy Myers are running in the Democratic primary. Bryce last week campaigned with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Janesville.
"My Democratic opponent has a lot of out-of-state support, probably because his ideas are really popular in San Francisco and New York City," Steil told FOX6 News after the debate, choosing to focus on Bryce, who holds a large fundraising advantage in the Democratic primary.
The three Republican candidates were in lockstep on many issues. They support more security on the southern border and eliminating many federal regulations, which they did not name.
They also oppose a Medicare-for-all health care plan backed by some Democrats, including Bryce and Myers.