As for his electoral decline in a district that leans slightly Republican, analysts see little reason for him to worry if he runs for the seat again in two years. They attribute the falloff in support to Ryan’s facing a stronger and better-funded foe than he has in the past, as well as other factors unique to simultaneously running for vice president and for Congress.
Charles Franklin, an elections expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says some Democrats who voted for Ryan in the past “are now looking at Paul Ryan as this symbol of the Republican Party,” leading them to vote against him for Congress.
Ryan has gotten positive assessments on his performance on the presidential campaign trail, despite a rough start.
“He’s done extraordinarily well,” says retired Sen. Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican and former Budget Committee chairman. “He’s been substantive; he’s been civil, humorous; and he reminds me so much of Jack Kemp.”
Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, says Ryan’s campaign performance was “respectable” and strengthened his support among Republicans. “He’s viewed as a hero in the party, but he needs a reintroduction if he runs for president — a reintroduction that would make him more acceptable to independents.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.