MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Ryan came up short in his vice presidential bid, but he's sure to remain a key leader of the Republican Party when he returns to Washington and the congressional seat he easily retained Tuesday night.
Ryan won re-election to the U.S. House seat representing southeastern Wisconsin that he has held since 1998, cruising to victory as he has in past elections by a comfortable margin. It was sure to be a hollow victory for Ryan, as he and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost their bid for the White House.
Even before he was tapped as Romney's No. 2, Ryan was seen as a star within the Republican Party. As chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, he gained prominence when he drew up an austere budget blueprint that would reshape Medicare and kept in place tax breaks soon set to expire.
He was challenged this year in the state's 1st District by Democratic businessman Rob Zerban, whose grassroots campaign focused on his credentials as an entrepreneur, and Libertarian Keith Deschler. It was an uphill climb for both challengers.
Ryan crisscrossed the U.S. after Romney picked him as his running mate, stopping in Wisconsin for high-dollar campaign fundraisers and a handful of rallies across the state. Meanwhile, Zerban focused on introducing himself to voters in the district. The former Kenosha Board supervisor said he would fight for middle-class families where Ryan had failed them.