By Kevin Binversie | Wisconsin Reporter
You’re not likely to find Democratic Party chief Mike Tate celebrating the rise of Wisconsin’s own U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to the No. 2 spot on the GOP presidential ticket.
During an impassioned speech at the 2010 state Democratic Party Convention, Tate pledged that while the “party might not defeat Ryan that election cycle, that that would happen by the time his tenure is up.”
Tate’s now in his second two-year term as party chairman. Ryan’s still, of course, holding his seat in the 1st Congressional District.
It’s easy to see why he wants Ryan gone. Ryan represents a real failure in the state Democratic strategy to reclaim the 1st District. Until 1995, Democrats held the seat with the late Les Aspin and now-Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, for 25 years. Ryan has become a persistent reminder of the changing complexion of Wisconsin party politics.
Democrats may believe that a November loss for Romney would take some of the shine off the very shiny Ryan. But a win would be even better — for Tate, at least.
Here’s the logic:
Wisconsin law allows Ryan to run simultaneously for his re-election to Congress and for vice president.
An internal poll from Ryan’s campaign pollster Gene Ulm of Public Opinion Strategies, shows Ryan is practically a lock for re-election to his House seat against Democratic challenger Rob Zerban, leading a remarkable 61 percent to 33 percent. He also has a 10-to-1 money advantage.
So Tate’s only hope of getting rid of Ryan is a Romney victory. If Democrats aren’t able to defeat Ryan in his congressional race, and Romney wins, Tate can say he fulfilled his 2010 pledge — only because Ryan was elevated to vice president on Tate’s watch.
Veteran political blogger Kevin Binversie is a Wisconsin native. He served in the George W. Bush administration from 2007-2009, worked at the Heritage Foundation and has worked on numerous state Republican campaigns, most recently as research director for Ron Johnson for Senate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.