Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rob Zerban Set To Announce Run Against Ryan On Saturday

2012 Congressional candidate, Rob Zerban has scheduled an "Announcement Event" at Parkside this Saturday at 11am.

Zerban formed an "exploratory committee" early this year to test the waters in another match-up between himself and incumbent, Paul Ryan.

An exploratory committee works very much the same as a campaign committee, but has looser rules regarding FEC reporting. Politicians can raise money without the rigorous campaign finance reports. Not every politician goes on to formally announce their candidacy - but Zerban is walking and talking like a guy who is ready to take on Ryan again.

It looks like Zerban won't be alone in his effort with the recent announcement of another exploratory committee formed by Amar Kaleka, whose father was murdered in the Oak Creek temple shooting. Kaleka says he would run as a Democrat and has reported conversations he has had with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) - the Democrats who raise money for congressional candidates.

Kaleka says he took a pass on some of the DCCC suggestions about polling and bringing in staff from a national pool who would have experience in campaigns of this size. In fact, Kaleka said he "fought" with the DCCC.

That's not good.

The DCCC has the ability to make or break a candidate not just in terms of money but also in exposure. It's not necessarily fair - no doubt their have been great candidates that couldn't get their attention - but if they decide you have a shot, the full weight of their cooperation is nothing to ignore.

Basically, it boils down to if current Chairman, Steve Israel, knows your name you are a very happy candidate for Congress.

Kaleka's background story is a great one - no doubt it's why he got a chance to sit down with them. But as our friend over at Blue Cheddar pointed out, the documentary which Kaleka directed an won an Emmy award is an odd film which appears to be about UFO's and aliens with a kind of a "truther" tone.

We haven't watched the documentary yet, so we'll get back with more info after we have seen it. His anti-establishment attitude will win him fans who like that attitude, but election campaigns are far more complicated than that and to ignore that reality is a very big gamble. One we have never seen payoff in a win.

So, back to Zerban and Ryan.

The Siren thinks the fight to unseat Ryan in a non-presidential year is a very uphill battle. The turnout drop on the Democratic side could be more than enough to overcome the progress Zerban made in 2012 - which was an uncomfortably close and unprecedented margin for Ryan.

Is Ryan vulnerable? Possibly.

The government shutdown and lame attempts to subvert negotiations over birth control access has wearied a population who voted for him because they thought he was just a nice guy.

As a player on the upcoming budget committee will be an opportunity to bash Ryan nearly on a daily basis for his opponents - he won't be able to hide his horrible budget ideas in the off year.

The expectation is that Zerban will announce his run on Saturday - otherwise why have a shindig? When he does - the season to unseat him will begin in earnest. Hopefully, Kaleka will serve as another spotlight on Ryan's bad ideas.

It will be fun.