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I'll start off this report on the state of the race here in Wisconsin's First Congressional District by showing you what we see here on local television:

As Americans, we deserve a choice. You, not Washington, should decide the path we take and the decisions we make. Americans can't wait, so we won't wait. If we act now, we can get this right. We don't want a government-controlled society. We want a limited government that is both efficient and effective. This is our chance to restore real faith and real opportunity in America. I'm Paul Ryan and I approve this message.
Rather vacuous wouldn't you say?  When I saw BiPMs mockery in this morning's Cheers and Jeers I couldn't help but think of it.  Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only candidate in this race that leaves me wanting.

In April of LAST YEAR I wrote how Rob Zerban (Came) Out Swinging.  Since then he and his surrogates have written a few somewhat forgettable posts here at Daily Kos.  I'd like nothing more than to have Rob Zerban as my Congressman, but at this point in time I don't see that happening.

The latest press Zerban has garnered is a report in Salon putting a positive spin on the fact that he's 8 points down:

Rob Zerban, the Democrat running against Rep. Paul Ryan, has been trying to make the case that he has a real shot at taking down one of the GOP’s most visible leaders, and his campaign is now touting a new poll showing the race is closer than most expected.


Zerban’s campaign argues that its poll, by giving people a bit more information about the Democrat, shows the potential their candidate has once he increases his name recognition and spreads his message to more voters. Given that most voters in the district still do not know Zerban, there is opportunity for him to improve his standing as his name ID increases. “As Zerban initiates a more active communications and outreach program over the next few weeks and voter attention toward the November election intensifies, we anticipate the race for the 1st Congressional District will tighten and it will become a very competitive campaign,” the polling memo states.

Local blogger xoff at Uppity Wisconsin had to reach back and quote a March 2012 blog post at DownWithTyranny! in order to spark some kind of fire in this campaign.
The DCCC loves using Republican cartoonish arch-villains as whipping boys. They're always sending out press releases and even putting together ads attacking the worst GOP figures, particularly Cantor, Boehner and Ryan. But they don't actually do anything about defeating any of them at the polls....

And this year, when Ryan finally does have a serious opponent, Rob Zerban, what does the DCCC do? Kick back and issue press releases about how awful Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing plans are-- to the media everywhere in America. But take on Ryan directly? Or even help Zerban go after Ryan? Don't be silly....

On the Democratic Party of Wisconsin website I read this regarding Zerban's fundraising:
With an average contribution of $42, and with 92 percent of his contributions coming from individuals, Zerban raised about $220,000 and has about $205,000 cash-on-hand.

By comparison, only one other time did a challenger to Ryan reach six figures for the entire race. Last year's candidate (John Heckenlively) raised only $12,000.

"Paul Ryan is a favorite of Washington's entrenched special interests, so he will have no problem summoning their mountains of cash," said Zerban, a small businessman and Kenosha County supervisor. "But because of his disastrous campaign to end Medicare, my campaign will be able to raise the resources to educate the public about his assault on the middle class - and to march to victory in 2012. "

Fortunately things have picked up since mid-July.  As of this writing ActBlue reports $648,071 from 24,545 donors.  Still, Ryan just spent $2 Mil on his ad buy for that batch of meringue above the fold.  To be honest I have no idea how the Zerban campaign can counter that, but if they want to win they must.  All I know is that too many people here in WI-01 have no idea who Rob Zerban is and if the campaign doesn't do something to change that immediately, we're doomed.

Rob Zerban may have John Heckenlively beat in fundraising, but so far he hasn't beaten him in creativity.  At Burlington Area Progressives last night I saw a video of a song penned by Mr. Heckenlively.  Enjoy:

Time's a wastin' Mr. Zerban.  Paul Ryan is more vulnerable than he's ever been.  Strike NOW! while the iron is hot.  Go for the jugular.

Originally posted to PvtJarHead on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Elections are a voter action. (4+ / 0-)

    Putting the onus on the cadidate to convince the electorate of what it doesn't wan to know is what prompts the commercializing of political campaigns.
    I'm glad Zerban is husbanding some of his money and hope local democrats will do the door to door.

    As for the DCCC, they've been part of the problem.  The Capitol Hill Gang of time-servers isn't just made up of Republicans.  Legislators on both sides of the aisle have been keen to dictate, rather than act as agents of the people.

    When Ryan rails against government, the point has to be made that the government 'r' us.  We the people demand to be served.  That's what the agents of government get paid for and if they don't want to be public servants and assume an appropriate subordinate position, then they need to be canned.

    Ryan's an insubordinate twit and needs to be shown the door.  Besides, brother Tobin is keeping a job in his hedge fund open for him. No doubt, Ryan took on the Vice gig 'cause he's got nothing to lose. If Democrats take back the House there's going to be some sparks flying.  Iraq swept under the rug can't be ignored for ever.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:11:54 AM PDT

    •  So it's wrong for me to expect the campaign to.... (0+ / 0-)

      actually campaign?  The only indication around here that there's an election coming are the Ryan ads and the dusty yard signs being dragged out of the garages.

      I haven't seen one Zerban ad or sign.  I've been asking people all year if they've heard of Rob Zerban and not one has until I tell them.  That's a problem and the Zerban campaign bears responsibility.

      "Ich bin ein Dachs!"

      by PvtJarHead on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:24:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When an employee is hired in the normal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PvtJarHead, a2nite

        course of business, whose job is it to do the interviewing and check references?
        The fact that the citizens' obligations have been farmed out to political operatives, consultants, publicists and massagers of the public interest is deplorable.  Middle men take over because the principals let them.
        The selling of political candidates did not happen on it's own.  It is a callous strategy on the part of people who have little use for the hoi poloi.  The denigration of government once the people got the tools to actually participate has been a conscious endeavor.  Low voter turnout was not a happenstance and the hand-wringing over it was pure deception.  
        There's a reason why there's an overt effort to "thin the herd" this time around.  The surreptitious efforst obviously failed to keep Barack Obama from being elected by the most votes ever. And 2010 was not good news either.  A lot of old timers got sidelined. 85 freshmen in the House was the second highest turn-over ever.  It was so bad that "incumbent" is now a dirty word.  Nobody wants to talk about all the forced retirements.

        We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:48:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're being a bit obtuse.... (0+ / 0-)

          It's an applicant's responsibility to sell himself in a job interview.

          My purpose in writing this diary is to inform you, the candidate, and the electorate of my perspective here in the district.  I'm not a cheerleader, and I'm not a salesman I'm just a guy that wants to see Zerban win.  He launched his campaign like a fighter, and that's the candidate I support.

          He needs to leave it all on the playing field, win or lose.

          "Ich bin ein Dachs!"

          by PvtJarHead on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:04:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Harsh (0+ / 0-)

        Dunno about signs -- I don't live in the district anymore -- but I don't blame Zerban for the fact that he, a first-time candidate running against the Republican VP nominee who's been in there many terms and enjoys a very high national profile, is way behind. Incidentally, he's way more than 8 points behind -- that was a misleading internal poll, and I can't find the specifics, but more reliable polling has him down by like 30 points, if I recall correctly.

        I do love Heck's song.

        Ryan's dumping millions into TV ads -- because he has it and because it will boost the top of the top of the ticket in the state, not because he's worried -- and Zerban won't be able to compete in the air war. He can start raising his profile and building the narrative that Ryan's wildly out of sync with his district (which has the benefit of being correct). But barring some shocking revelation he's probably looking at 2014. I wish him enormous luck

        "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

        by Septic Tank on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:55:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Zerban signs now available (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GeoffT, PvtJarHead

        From the email I received today:

        Rob Zerban signs are in!!!

        The campaign has the regular signs, 2x4s and 4x8s for main highways.
        All signs are free and need to go up ASAP, the campaign is lacking name recognition and this is a great way to combat that.

        If you would like one please email Matt Lowe at or call him at 262-758-7010.

  •  I'm going to the office today (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PvtJarHead, rosarugosa, Odysseus

    With a warchest of under $1m I don't think spending about 20% of that on a week of TV adds is affordable, not this far out. There will be DEM national ads running in WI, digging at Paul Ryan's character. Rob Zerban will piggy-back off those to a certain extent.

    in the meantime it's phones and D2D.

    •  You've gotta spend money to make money.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The salon piece demonstrates that it needs to be done.  It's not going to happen by osmosis.

      "Ich bin ein Dachs!"

      by PvtJarHead on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:29:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Report back to us, Quicklund, let us know how they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PvtJarHead, Quicklund

      are doing. I am sure people will contribute if they know that they are pushing forward and making progress.

      •  We've been organizing vols, making calls (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosarugosa, PvtJarHead, Odysseus

        The recall walker signatures have been databased. Computerzed phone banks go through this voter base. Trying to get Rob Zerban's name out there but also looking for vols and yard sign hosts. I imagine now we will be doing D2D at least on weekends.

        One issue here in my home town is the Obama office and the Zerban office are both trying to do the same job but from two different physical offices. So the same local vols aget caught in a tug of war. I wish htey were in the same office (even tho the OFA office is 1 5 minute walk from my house.)

      •  The Zerban office has been up since June 6th (5+ / 0-)

        I should add. It was set up last Dec which is WAY earlier than our local  county party pays for office space. But with the recalls we've had an office up for almost a  year. It's always been used as and intended to be a Zerban facility as well as a recall HQ.

        I first saw Rob Zerban at a county party meeting in May (I think) 2011. He has been to every rally and major protest I can think of. So everyone in the local Democratic vol community knows him well.

        Now the average voter who is just now starting to pay attention? They just need the lightbulb to click on. "Wait, you mean we can really get rid of the Ryan character?" Given the crashing Romney campaign, it seems plausible the average voter will be receptive to Rob Zerban. All they need is a little push. There is time for that.

  •  But PvtJarHead, you could put a thermometer in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    your diary, couldn't you?

    Go Zerban Go!

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PvtJarHead, exterris

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 05:23:33 PM PDT

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