Paul Nehlen (born May 9, 1969) is an American businessman, white supremacist and former Congressional candidate from Wisconsin. He gained notice for his controversial remarks while running in 2016 and 2018 in the Republican Party‘s primary election in Wisconsin. He was soundly defeated by incumbent Paul Ryan in the first primary election and also defeated in the second primary by Bryan Steil, who would go on to win the general election for U.S. Representative from Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district. He lost by 68 points to Ryan in 2016 and again to Steil in 2018. Nehlen has been rejected by the Wisconsin Republican Party, and by some white nationalists.
An April 2018 article in The Daily Beast declared that Nehlen was becoming one of the highest profile white nationalists in the United States, but he has been unsuccessful politically, also losing the support of Breitbart News. His online accounts have been closed at Twitter and Gab because of his postings. Since early 2018 he has gained notice only for controversial remarks and largely disappeared from coverage in 2019.
He became a successful businessman and had stints at Deltech Engineering/United Dominion Industries and SPX Corporation, and he served until 2016 as the Senior VP of Operations at Neptune-Benson LLC, a subsidiary of Evoqua Water Technologies. He holds several patents related to filtering and manufacturing methods. In 2014, he registered a consulting business, Blue Skies Global LLC. It does not appear to have conducted any business to date. Nehlen was an advisory board member from the Midwest Region of Operation Homefront until 2016.
Nehlen has espoused alt-right, racist, white nationalist, and antisemitic views. He has used white nationalist memes to spread his message. Nehlen frequently uses the slogan: “It’s OK to be white.” He was formerly backed by Steve Bannon. Nehlen endorsed Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama U.S. Senate special election. A few have said his views and actions show he has neo-Nazi ideology and he has been endorsed by neo-Nazis.