The man who would love to fill in for Vice President Biden
October 11th, 2012
07:13 PM ET
10 years ago

The man who would love to fill in for Vice President Biden

Danville, Kentucky (CNN) - As Republican running mate Paul Ryan gets ready to debate Vice President Joe Biden, there's someone else who would love to be in Biden's shoes.

And that's Rob Zerban, who's challenging Ryan back in Wisconsin's first congressional district, as the seven-term representative runs for re-election to his House seat in addition to running for vice president.

Tune to CNN for Thursday's vice presidential debate coverage on CNN TV, and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Zerban came to the vice presidential debate at Centre College, doing interviews on national cable TV and speaking with political reporters, as part of his long-time effort to convince Ryan to debate.

"The main objective is to secure a debate, said Zerban, of his journey from Wisconsin to Kentucky.

Wisconsin law allows Ryan to serve as his party's vice presidential nominee and also run at the same time for an eighth term in the House. If he wins both contests, he'll have to give up his House seat. It was a similar situation four years ago when then Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware won re-election to his Senate seat and was part of the Democrats winning ticket. Biden gave up his Senate seat to become vice president.

"Paul Ryan's congressional opponent's push for a debate is not out of the ordinary, particularly given the fact he is lagging so far behind in the polls. Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman, and even Lloyd Bentsen's opponents all unsuccessfully pursued the same strategy and the precedent set by these three Democrats – as well as others who have simultaneously been on the ballot for both a Congressional office and the vice presidency – has been to participate in the vice presidential debate only," Ryan's House campaign manager, Kevin Seifert, told CNN.

When it comes to Wisconsin's first district, Zerban says Ryan is missing in action.

"I've been in this race for 19 months and since Paul Ryan was named as Mitt Romney's running mate he's been an absentee candidate. He's not been in the district. He barely comes into the state," Zerban tells CNN. "I feel that he needs to come back to the state and debate the issues for the voters of the first congressional district. If he can fly into Milwaukee and do thousand dollar a plate dinner fundraisers, he surely can take the time and answer their questions."

Seifert disagrees, calling Zerban's trip to Kentucky a "publicity stunt" and says its ironic that Zerban would accuse Ryan of not paying attention to southern Wisconsin while Zerban "spends the entire day talking to national media outlets in Kentucky."

Ryan first won election to the House in 1998. He is favored to win re-election in November.

Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Pete

    That's why MrZerbans going to stop Ryans streak at 7 before he gets to complacent,he already is but nobody up in Wisconsin tells him,they're ignorent as well!!MrZerban wanted to debate Ryan but he refused,scared Ryan to get beaten in debates twice in one election year,that's unpresidented in politics,you want to be the first,most Democrates would love you too!!

    October 11, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  2. Borderless

    Rob who? Anyway, in real news...

    October 11, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Some of the folks in Wisconsin are now learning things about Lyin Ryan that they never knew before. Like the Ryan/Akin legitimate rape bill. Ryan has done nothing for Wisconsin and his pride cost Janesville an automotive factory. Ryan wouldn't ask President Obama for stimulus money, and Bush didn't give it to him, so Janesville lost a lot of jobs. Of course, Lyin Ryan is now blaming it on Obama. Shame on Lyin Ryan. I hope he loses the House seat and the vice presidency. It would serve him right.

    October 11, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. Morning1Su,

    Good luck Mr Zerban.

    October 11, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. Borderless

    Rob Z-whatever is trying to make the point that Ryan is too busy campaigning to do his job. Hmm...Obama, our president, our commander in chief, has been awfully busy campaigning... Just sayin'.

    October 11, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |