I am sure all of the regular readers of Blogging Blue know, Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban is challenging Rep. Paul Ryan for his House seat from the Wisconsin First Congressional District. And although this campaign is of critical importance to what happens in the next Congressional session, it is being overshadowed by the Presidential campaign and the several too close to call Senatorial campaigns across the nation. But that doesn’t mean it’s being entirely overlooked and last week Mr. Zerban got some love from Yahoo News!
Going into the race in 2011, Zerban knew taking down Ryan would be no small feat. Since Ryan first joined the House in his late 20s, he has trounced all competition. And the Republican darling has received no less than 63 percent of the vote every election cycle since 2000. A Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted by the Ryan campaign in September showed the incumbent ahead of Zerban 58-33 percent. Still, Ryan’s district isn’t necessarily a Republican stronghold. The area supported Obama in 2008, but voted for former President George W. Bush in 2004.
In recent years, Ryan’s national exposure has allowed him to build a formidable war chest with donations pouring in nationwide. As of his last financial disclosure filed at the end of September, Ryan’s congressional campaign reported a flush $4 million cash on hand. And that was before he joined the national Republican ticket.
While Ryan might have the star power, Zerban is no token candidate or Democratic placeholder. Unlike Ryan’s former Democratic challengers, Zerban actually has a fundraising apparatus in place, hauling in more than $1.7 million for his campaign so far. The number is nowhere near Ryan’s fundraising cache, but considering that the most any candidate has ever raised against Ryan is about $150,000, Zerban is the closest threat Ryan has had throughout his incumbency. In the past quarter, Zerban outraised Ryan, $770,000 to $567,000.
“He’s mounting a credible campaign,” said Ryan campaign spokesman Kevin Seifert of Zerban. “They’re at the parades just like we are, but I know it’s not going to be enough. There’s not one objective number that indicates that this guy is within fighting distance.”
The rest of the article is worth the time to read and lays out the challenges that Mr. Zerban faces and the strengths he brings to this campaign.
And in case you didn’t notice, Rep. Ryan has totally avoided debating Mr. Zerban…begging off claiming he Vice Presidential campaign doesn’t afford the time…despite the number of times that campaign has brought him to Wisconsin. Meanwhile Rep. Ryan’s entire House campaign is being run via advertising and proxies. But in a debate about local issues relevant to the First CD, I think Rep. Ryan knows that Mr. Zerban will eat his lunch.