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Political observer says Paul Ryan as 2016 GOP presidential front-runner

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JANESVILLE, WI (WTAQ) - Some observers say Janesville’s Paul Ryan may be the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, despite his loss Tuesday as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

St. Louis University professor Joel Goldstein is an expert on the vice presidency. He tells the Wisconsin State Journal that even a defeated VP candidate tends to be elevated to ranks of White House contenders.

Goldstein said Ryan’s controversial plan to reform Medicare might have dampened Romney’s support – but not nearly as much as some had expected.

Ryan will stay in Congress, after being re-elected to his 8th term in the House Tuesday. And with Republicans still in control, he’s expected to keep his high-profile chairmanship of the House Budget Committee.

Former U.S. Senate Republican Bob Kasten said Ryan’s influence has grown over the last four months – and he’s now the most important lawmaker in Washington on budget and fiscal decisions.

Governor Scott Walker said Ryan’s credibility is as strong, if not stronger, than when he was named the VP nominee back in August.

There are not many House members who gain the national stature that Ryan did. And as the State Journal pointed, no House member has been elected president since James Garfield in 1880. 

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