Paul Ryan's House Ads: Having His Cake And Eating It Too
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan began airing ads for his House seat in Wisconsin Wednesday, not in the hopes of winning an eighth term he'll never serve but rather as a strategy to keep the seat in Republican hands.
Ryan may appear to be hedging his bets (and admitting doubt in his own GOP ticket) by making sure he still has his old job to return to after the election. But Dr. Herbert Gooch, professor of political science at California Lutheran University, said running for two seats at once is a way for Ryan to keep his seat in party hands.
If Ryan wins the vice presidency, the appointee to temporarily fill the seat will be Republican. He would then have enormous political clout to influence the election for a permanent replacement. And if he loses, the GOP won't have needlessly lost a Congressional seat to a failed election. The method has proved succesful in the recent past.
"It may look like an escape route," Gooch said. "But eating your cake and having it, too is a stategy used by Biden and others."
Vice President Joe Biden ran a political ad for his Senate seat while he was Barack Obama's running mate in 2008. He was reelected to the Senate and his former Chief of Staff, Ted Kauffman, was appointed to fill his seat until another election could be held. Chris Coons, a Democrat, defeated Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell for Biden's seat in 2010.
Ryan's ad, like Biden's, is light on details but with more than $4 million in his campaign war chest, the extra advertising power may benefit his bid for VP, particularly because the generic nature of the ads make them as applicable to both races. It also helps Ryan flash his mug without costing the Romney campaign any additional money.
Simultaneous races mean simultaneous ad campaigns. The Republican National Committee released "It's Our Time" on Wednesday, as well. The ad protrays the Romney/Ryan campaign as a "grassroots initiative." According to August's fundraising totals, the campaign raised $111.6, of which $34.6 million came from donations under $250. Meanwhile, the average size of a donation to the Obama campaign was $58.
Ryan's ad was part of what is expected to be a $2 million fall media buy.