Ryan's challenger campaigns against ... no one

Democrat Rob Zerban has been running against an absent Paul Ryan in Wisconsin

By Todd Richmond

Published October 31, 2012 6:22PM (EDT)

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Rob Zerban was ready for a brawl when he decided to run for Paul Ryan's congressional seat in southern Wisconsin. Mitt Romney changed all when he picked Ryan as his running mate.

Ryan is still running for the seat he's held for seven terms, but the national race has consumed him. Aside from a stream of generic television ads, Ryan hasn't campaigned for his seat since Romney tapped him.

Zerban has accused Ryan of abandoning his district. Last week the Kenosha Democrat launched a "Focus on the First" mini-campaign of volunteer work to play up that he cares about the locals. But Ryan's absence doesn't appear to have hurt him. Even Democrats aren't optimistic about Zerban's chances of winning.

Todd Richmond

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2012 Elections From The Wires Paul Ryan Rob Zerban Wisconsin