The Wisconsin Democrat who tried to unseat Rep. Paul Ryan in 2012 is eyeing a rematch with the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
Rob Zerban, a former county supervisor, filed paperwork establishing an “exploratory” bid in Wisconsin’s 1st District, which includes Kenosha, Racine and other territory in the southeastern part of the state.
“Since the election, I have been inundated with phone calls and emails from people all over the First District urging me to come forward again to give the people of Southeast Wisconsin a viable alternative to Paul Ryan,” Zerban said in a statement first shared with Political Capital today announcing an exploratory committee, often a precursor to a full-fledged campaign.
Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, beat Zerban by 55 percent to 43 percent in 2012, when Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate and closely linked to the national Republican Party. The Romney-Ryan ticket carried Wisconsin’s 1st by 52 percent to 47 percent in the 2012 election, according to Political Capital calculations.
Unseating Ryan may be more difficult in 2014, when voter turnout will dip at the midpoint of President Barack Obama’s second term. The White House’s party rarely gains ground in Congress in midterm elections.
Democrats including Zerban have attacked Ryan’s fiscal blueprint, which calls for balancing the budget through about $4.6 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.
“My hope is that, over the next few months, we will begin to have a conversation about what the people of Wisconsin’s First District really want: a secure future, not federal austerity,” Zerban said.
Balancing the budget “helps us get a healthier economy, stronger growth,” Ryan said yesterday on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.”