Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Wisconsin: Ryan’s Former Democratic Foe Explores Rematch

Wisconsin: Ryans Former Democratic Foe Explores Rematch

Zerban has filed an exploratory committee to challenge Ryan, above, again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Rob Zerban announced Wednesday that he is preparing for a rematch with Republican Rep. Paul D. Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District.

Ryan defeated Zerban, a former catering company owner, by 12 points last November, when the House Budget Committee chairman simultaneously ran for vice president and re-election. Still, the last election was the “closest challenge” of Ryan’s congressional career, according to Zerban’s campaign.

The 1st District includes competitive territory, but Ryan has easily held the seat since he first won it in 1998. One of Ryan’s greatest campaign strengths is his fundraising. In the 2012 cycle, he raised nearly $5 million and spent nearly $6.7 million.

But facing Ryan — and his national profile — also proved lucrative for Zerban, who spent nearly $2.4 million.

“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. “My hope is that, over the next few months, we will begin to have a conversation about what the people of the Wisconsin’s First District really want: a secure future, not federal austerity.”

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