Mitt Romney’s announcement that Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan will be joining him on the Republican presidential ticket is being described as a “bold” move, with strategists arguing over whether the author of some controversial budget plans will help or hurt Romney in the long run.
But the choice of Ryan is also bold in other, perhaps subtler ways. Ryan’s addition to the ticket brings about a series of interesting firsts.
- This is the first time since 1964 that Republican presidential ticket has had a congressperson as the vice presidential pick. In 1964, Barry Goldwater chose New York Rep. William E. Miller. It’s the first time since 1984 that any presidential ticket has had a congressperson as the VP pick. That year, Democrat Walter Mondale tapped New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro. (1984 was also the last time Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin went red in a presidential election.)
- Ryan has no military experience, and his addition to the ticket makes it the first time since 1932 that none of the four presidential and vice presidential contenders have served.
- It’s the first time in modern history that neither the presidential or vice presidential candidate on a ticket has been of a protestant denomination. Romney is Mormon, Ryan is Catholic.
- And it’s the first time that a candidate has been on the presidential ballot who was born in the 1970s — Ryan was born Jan. 29, 1970.