Ryan can run for House seat, VP at same time under Wisconsin law

If Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) doesn't become vice president of the United States, he has a backup option: his old House seat.

Under Wisconsin law, Ryan can run simultaneously for both offices.

The lawmaker hasn't said anything about his House election, which he is strongly favored to win, but he may not have much of a choice.

ADVERTISEMENT
The law specifically states that once a candidate is nominated, his or her name has to remain on the ballot except in the case of death.

But if Ryan does make it to the vice presidential mansion, that election would "void the candidate's election to any other office," and a special election would be called, according to the law. And names are already being floated in case that comes to pass. 

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native, has been mentioned in media reports. Priebus and Ryan are very good friends and the party leader was with Ryan in Norfolk, Va., when Mitt Romney announced him as his running mate.

Wisconsin holds its congressional primary on Tuesday (it held its presidential primary in April) and thus far, the marquee race has been the Republican Senate primary, where four candidates are in an all-out war for the nomination.


Ryan, first elected in 1998, doesn't face any primary competition and will compete against Democrat Rob Zerban in the fall.

The seven-term lawmaker is favored to win his House seat. Ryan easily won reelection the past few cycles, despite the district going for President Obama in the 2008 presidential race. The 1st congressional district became slightly more GOP leaning under the redistricting process, however.

If Ryan returns to the House, he may not have the chairmanship of the House Budget Committee waiting for him. Under GOP rules, which established term limits for the top committee spots, Ryan's tenure is up at the end of this year. A waiver is an option but would likely trigger a free-for-all in the GOP conference, with other Republicans who face term limits demanding similar consideration.

More in House races

Former rep looking into run for Grimm seat

Read more »