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Ryan to begin airing TV ads for congressional re-election

 

MILWAUKEE -- Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan will begin airing television ads for his congressional re-election race in Wisconsin beginning Wednesday.

The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

"Congressman Ryan is on the ballot twice in the 1st Congressional District for both the House and the vice presidency, so Ryan for Congress is running ads locally in Milwaukee and Madison media markets," Kevin Seifert, Ryan's congressional re-election spokesman, told NBC News.

Wisconsin law permits candidates who are running for either president or vice president to also have their name on the ballot for another election. The theory -- if the candidate doesn't win their race for the White House -- is he or she can still hold on to the previous job in Congress.

Both the Romney team and Ryan's House re-election campaign have pushed back on any suggestion that Ryan might be hedging his bets against a possible loss in November's presidential contest, and they noted previous VP nominees have done this in the past.

"We made clear from day one he'd remain on the congressional ballot, as Wisconsin law allows," Brendan Buck, the GOP VP nominee's spokesman, said in an email. "Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman both ran for re-election in the Senate concurrently with their VP runs."

Ryan filmed several congressional re-election ads in Wisconsin the week leading up to Romney tapping him as his VP -- one day before Ryan's trip to Massachusetts to meet with Romney personally and two days after.

Among other locations, the ad sites included a home construction site, a clinic, and a space management facility. Ryan's family -- his wife and three children -- joined him in one ad outside of a residential home in their hometown.

The seven-term Wisconsin Congressman used Wilson Grand Communications -- a firm from Northern Virginia -- to shoot the ads over an intense three-day period.

But Ryan is not in a competitive race in the Badger State. He is ahead of his opponent in Wisconsin's 1st District -- Rob Zerban, a former county official -- by nearly a 25%margin according to a poll of 400 likely voters that was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (R) Sept. 9-10. (Public Opinion Strategies co-conducts the NBC/WSJ poll.)

While Ryan's ads have allowed critics to charge that he might be hedging his bets against a possible Romney loss, the airtime could also potentially help the Romney ticket in the battleground state of Wisconsin.

Indeed, voters in the Madison and Milwaukee markets will begin seeing not only Ryan's re-election ads this week, but also the Romney campaign ads -- as the former Massachusetts governor's campaign made its first ad buy of the general election in Wisconsin.