Paul Ryan challenger Rob Zerban has his best fundraising quarter yet
Post by Christie Taylor on 4/12/2012 12:14pm
Kenosha businessman Rob Zerban is on track to be the strongest Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has faced in his 14 years in the 1st Congressional District, with recent fundraising numbers suggesting an acceleration in his support.
April 15 marks the first quarter filing deadline for federal office-seekers. In a press call Thursday morning, Zerban deputy campaign director Tyler Norkus said his candidate had raised $325,000 in the first three months of 2012, and had $426,000 still in the bank. That’s a nearly 50 percent increase from the $220,000 he raised in the last three months of 2011, when attention for his anti-SOPA stance from the social networking site Reddit spurred a wave of donations and offers of assistance. In addition, the number of individual donations to the grassroots effort went up by 75 percent, comprising 92 percent of the total, and communications director Beth Pramme said she thought it was heartening that, at least compared to Ryan’s fourth quarter numbers, Zerban had outperformed on donations under $200.
“This was our strongest quarter yet by a long shot,” Norkus said. “If we continue on this trajectory, we’ll be able to present voters with a clear choice in the fall.”
Opponent Paul Ryan, on the other hand, raised more than twice that in the same period, with $721,000. He stands at $3.1 million raised for the cycle so far, and more than $5 million cash on hand. Still, Zerban has already raised more than Ryan’s strongest prior challenger, Margaret Krupp, who raised $161,000 in the 2007-2008 election cycle, and lost by thirty percentage points.
Norkus said he thinks voters in Wisconsin are tired of the PAC and special interest funding that, he says, Ryan represents, and so it’s not necessary that Zerban raise an equivalent amount--just that he make voters aware that he exists. Norkus said bad press for Ryan’s budget, his leadership role in a wildly unpopular Congress, and the “purple” nature of the district, which went 52 percent for President Obama in 2008, meant that voters were ready to vote for someone like Zerban if he could organize to get his name out.
Christie Taylor (@ctaylsaurus) covers science, environment, and, depending on the season, state politics for dane101. She verbs a lot of nouns, including rollerskates, radio, and Kurt Vonnegut. A Madison native, she's not sure she'll ever quite manage to leave Wisconsin, and that's just fine by her. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.