As Veep Chances Rise in Polls, Ryan Still Spends Millions to Keep Congressional Seat

Oct 26, 2012 6:00am
ap paul ryan jt 121021 wblog As Veep Chances Rise in Polls, Ryan Still Spends Millions to Keep Congressional Seat

Nati Harnik/AP Photo

Paul Ryan is spending millions on ads in Wisconsin, but it’s not to help get the GOP ticket to the White House, it’s to keep his congressional seat … of course, it can’t hurt.

The GOP vice presidential nominee is spending about $2 million on television, radio and print ads to keep his House seat, Paul Ryan’s congressional campaign manager Kevin Seifert confirms.

The ads will run in the Milwaukee and Madison media markets, and the campaign just released a new one Wednesday making the total number of television ads at eight, less than two weeks before Election Day.

They will release a ninth before voters go to the polls on Nov. 6, a congressional aide tells ABC News.

Ryan is not the first vice presidential candidate to run two races at once. Vice President Joe Biden ran for his Senate seat in Delaware in 2008 while Joe Lieberman continued to run for the Senate in Connecticut in 2000 after Al Gore chose him as his running mate. Lyndon Johnson also ran for the Senate in Texas after he’d joined the Kennedy ticket in 1960. They all won their congressional races.

His Democratic opponent is former chef and businessman from Kenosha, Rob Zerban. ABC News rates the seat “safely Republican” for Ryan. Despite that, in the last fundraising period Zerban bested Ryan, raising $770,000 to Ryan’s $566,743.

The House Budget Chairman still had more cash on hand, though with $4 million to Zerban’s $2 million.

The most recent television ad focuses on fixing the tax code, but like all the others it’s hard to decipher what job Ryan is running for: his congressional seat or the vice presidency.

Besides the Wisconsin sweatshirts on the two factory workers Ryan is talking to and the Ryan for U.S. Congress logo at the end, the themes are similar to what he talks about on the Romney campaign stump. Other ads, set in places like a town hall meeting or with his family, cover the national debt, health care and job creation.

In an ad titled “A Choice of Two Futures,” Ryan focuses on the same message he does daily on the stump from Virginia to Ohio, Florida to Iowa.   “Our country has a critical decision to make,” Ryan, dressed in a blue shirt and khaki pants in a town hall setting, says. “Will we leave something better or worse for our children? Politicians from both parties have made empty promises, which will soon become broken promises if we fail to act now. We must take action to prevent the most predictable economic crisis in our country’s history. Washington promotes a culture of dependency; we need a culture of accountability and personal responsibility.”

Seifert says the ad roll out is “consistent with past campaigns.”

“Paul Ryan is airing television and radio advertisements in 1st Congressional District media markets that are focused on addressing the primary issues of concern to Wisconsin voters,” Seifert told ABC News. ”Advertisements are one of the many ways Ryan for Congress is informing voters in Southern Wisconsin about the specific solutions Paul Ryan has offered to reduce our crushing burden of debt, fix our broken tax code, and strengthen and protect Medicare.”

An aide says the ads and the ad buy were “conceptualized well before” the vice presidential announcement on Aug. 11. They were shot in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville on Aug. 4, 6, and 7. Aug. 5  is when Ryan secretly met with Romney and his senior adviser and veep vetter Beth Meyers in her Brookline, Mass., home. It was then that Romney offered Ryan the job.   Ryan will return home to Wisconsin for Halloween, telling two Wisconsin radio hosts last week he was going to do a campaign tour of the state to coincide with Halloween so he could take his three young children trick or treating.

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