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Ryan Seeks to Become 1st GOPer to Simultaneously Win VP and Congressional Seat

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Only three previous individuals - all Democrats - have won the vice-presidency and were reelected to their seat on Capitol Hill on Election Day

paulryan10.jpgWhen Joe Biden and Paul Ryan square off in their vice-presidential debate this autumn, one thing for which the sitting vice-president cannot criticize his Republican opponent is having divided political ambitions.

In 2008, Biden hedged his bets and ran for a seventh term to his U.S. Senate seat from Delaware as well as accepting Barack Obama's invitation to be his vice-presidential running mate.

Biden won both races and, of course, resigned from his Senate seat and became the 47th Vice-President of the United States.

Four years later, Ryan will follow suit, continuing to run for reelection to an eighth term to his 1st congressional district seat in Wisconsin while running with Mitt Romney to take back the White House for the Republican Party.

And how common are dual-office victories for vice-presidential nominees?

A Smart Politics analysis finds that only three candidates have simultaneously won both the vice-presidency and another office since the introduction of the major party system almost 200 years ago, with only five individuals attempting this feat along the way - and none of them Republicans.

All five candidates have successfully retained their seat on Capitol Hill, but only three became vice-president that cycle:

· In 1932, Democrat John Nance Garner won his 16th term from Texas' 1st CD with a 76.9-point win over Republican Carlos Watson. Garner, who was House Speaker at the time, served until the end of his 15th term in March 1933.

· In 1960, Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeated future Republican U.S. Senator John Tower by 16.9 points - the narrowest of his three U.S. Senate election victories. Johnson resigned on the last day of his second term.

· In 2008, Joe Biden defeated Republican Christine O'Donnell in the Delaware U.S. Senate contest by 29.4 points. Biden served a few weeks of his eighth term before resigning a week before becoming vice-president.

Two other candidates were reelected to the U.S. Senate but were not elected vice-president:

· In 1988, Democrat Lloyd Bentsen won his fourth term as a U.S. Senator from Texas with a 19.2-point win over Beau Boulter, while losing on Michael Dukakis' ticket.

· In 2000, Al Gore's running mate Joe Lieberman won a third term to Connecticut's Class I U.S. Senate seat with a 29.0-point victory over Republican Philip Giordano.

With the exception of Garner and now Ryan, most vice-presidential candidates have not chosen (or not been able) to simultaneously run for their U.S. House seat:

· 1836: Whig Francis Granger (NY-26) lost running alongside William Henry Harrison.
· 1864: Democrat George Pendleton (OH-01) lost on George McClellan's ticket.
· 1868: Republican Schuyler Colfax (IN-09) won running with Ulysses Grant.
· 1876: Republican William Wheeler (NY-19) won as Rutherford Hayes' running mate.
· 1908: Republican James Sherman (NY-27) won on William Howard Taft's ticket.
· 1964: Republican William Miller (NY-40) lost running with Barry Goldwater.
· 1984: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro (NY-09) lost as Walter Mondale's running mate.

With his attention focused on helping Mitt Romney win the White House, Paul Ryan will also face Democrat Rob Zerban down the ballot in Wisconsin's 1st CD race.

Zerban will no doubt use the vice-presidential nominee's dual ambitions as a way to bolster his campaign.

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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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