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Paul Ryan Congressional Challenger Gets Attention on Reddit

by Chad Condit, published

While half of America has not heard of Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's VP pick, far fewer know the name Rob Zerban. Zerban is running as a Democratic challenger to Ryan for his Congressional seat in Wisconsin's First Congressional district. And he is getting a lot of exposure on the internet, especially in his latest "AMA" on Reddit (AMA = Ask Me Anything).

Reddit is an online link-sharing platform whose participants are considered pretty liberal and relatively young. And while most political consultants and old guard politicians have probably never heard of it, the social media site has already shown its power when they helped start the massive internet opposition to SOPA and PIPA, which successfully stopped the passage of both internet regulation bills.

It is worth mentioning Rob Zerban's participation for a number of reasons:

  1. Zerban is no passive challenger.  He has a beautiful website, he boasts that he has raised more than 12x the money of any previous Ryan challenger, and he has very credible business credentials.

  2. Zerban "gets it." While social media may not be the make-or-break quite yet, it is getting there. Representatives like Justin Amash and Jared Polis understand that the future of constituency service includes online communication and interaction. In short time, it may be difficult to win a race without it.  Zerban proves he understands this.

  3. Paul Ryan's run as vice-President will put a spotlight on the district and, as a result, Zerban will likely be able to raise money from a national base of Paul opponents.
Here's a highlight of the top voted Q&A on the Reddit AMA right now:
kinggovernor 377 points 15 hours ago
Paul Ryan has been HANDILY defeating democrats by a margin of 2-1 or greater for the better part of ten years, what makes you think you can do better?

[–]RobZerbanS] 333 points


Even before Ryan got the VP nod, my campaign had raised 12x more than all of Ryan's previous 6 challengerscombined.


WI-01 is a swing district that President Obama won in 2008 - the votes are he to win.

This will be the first time Ryan faces voters since releasing his budget, and when people hear what's in his budget, and learn what the Romney-Ryan plan holds for them, it will be rejected by voters nationally and locally. Ryan has been able to talk a moderate game in the district and rely on his family's good name (while also outspending his opponents by margins of 100:1). He will be exposed this fall.


Finally, people are excited about me as a candidate. I've been a small business owner and the job creator Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan pretend to be. Unlike Paul Ryan, I've actually balanced a budget, and I did it responsibly. I've been elected at the local level, serving as board supervisors in Kensoha County.

err... the flight attendant is making me shut down - I'll be back after I check into the hotel.

Check out the rest of the Reddit AMA

And a video from the campaign:

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