First Congressional District voters could see a rematch in 2014 when Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, is up for re-election.
Kenosha Democrat Rob Zerban announced Wednesday that he is putting together an exploratory committee to vet his chances in another run at Ryan.
Zerban's announcement comes on the same day that House of Representatives will vote on Ryan's newest budget, which Zerban describes as gutting Medicare and rewarding wealthy Americans.
"Since the election, I have been inundated with phone calls and emails from people all over the First District urging me to come forward again to give the people of Southeast Wisconsin a viable alternative to Paul Ryan," Zerban said in his written release. "My hope is that, over the next few months, we will begin to have a conversation about what the people of the Wisconsin's First District really want: a secure future, not federal austerity."
Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Joe Fadness countered, calling Zerban's 2012 campaign negative, desperate and lacking substance.
"Zerban’s 2012 campaign was light on substance and heavy on misleading falsehoods. If elected, he would be nothing more than a rubber stamp the destructive policies of President Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s that have left this nation with record debt, high unemployment and ruinous spending," he wrote in a statement after Zerban made his announcement.
But Zerban pointed out that he is the first Democratic candidate in recent years to give Ryan a more serious run for his money.
"(Zerban's campaign) shaved nearly 20 points off Ryan's average victory margin, even while Ryan was on a presidential ticket with Mitt Romney," the statement reads. "It was the closest 2012 Congressional election in Wisconsin and caused Paul Ryan to lose his home ward, his home town, and his home county."
Fadness shrugged Zerban's assertion off, pointing out Ryan's popularity:
"Congressman Ryan is one of the nation’s leading taxpayer advocates. He has a strong record of working to balance the budget, reduce the tax burden facing the middle class families and give job creators the tools they need to grow the economy.”