GOP's Massie, Barr and Wicker excited and pleasantly surprised about Paul Ryan pick

08/11/2012 09:47 PM

Kentucky GOP activists and congressional candidates gave kudos to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for picking U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., as his running mate — a move that they say injects needed energy into the campaign.

Ryan’s selection was a major topic at the Kentucky Young Republican Federation conference at the Louisville GOP headquarters Saturday. Both of the Republican congressional candidates who attended — Thomas Massie in the open 4th Congressional District and Brooks Wicker, the challenger in the 3rd Congressional District — said the selection improved their opinion of Romney.

As Massie put it: “I was worried he wouldn’t pick someone like Paul Ryan. I was afraid they would try to play it safe. But because he picked Paul Ryan, he’s sending a message — look we’re going to take the lead on issues like this.”

Massie also mentioned it in the keynote address he gave to the group of young Republicans between the ages of 18 and 40. He said he was excited for three reasons: that Ryan will make it an issues-based debate down the stretch; that he could more than hold his own against Vice President Joe Biden; and that it could create a key vacancy if the GOP ticket wins.

Tres Watson, whom the Kentucky Young Republican Federation re-elected as the group’s president on Saturday, said Ryan joining the ticket already has fired up young Republicans across the country because he relates to them. And he said Ryan can energize the section of the Republican base that wasn’t so sure about Romney.

Wicker, who is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville, said he welcomes the debate over how to bolster Medicare, as Ryan’s budget proposal in the House sought to do. Ryan worked with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon on a proposal that would allow future retirees to get a federal subsidy to pay for their health care.

The Republican candidate in the 6th Congressional District, Andy Barr, issued a statement Saturday containing a similar sentiment about his enthusiasm for Romney’s new running mate:

“Congressman Ryan is a man of principle, substance and big ideas. He is a creative thinker who has demonstrated both political courage and bipartisanship in tackling one of the great challenges of our time: how to keep America’s commitment to our seniors while saving Medicare for future generations. I look forward to working with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to avert a national debt crisis, save Medicare from bankruptcy and restore prosperity, economic growth and jobs for the American people.”

And GOP Congressman Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green was the first Kentucky Republican to react to the news Saturday morning. He quickly issued a statement saying how excited he was that his Republican colleague in the U.S. House is on the GOP ticket:

“As the Republican nominee for Vice-President, he will continue to champion his message of fiscal responsibility. Paul is a man of character and has what it takes to make a difference for our nation’s future. I am proud to support the Romney-Ryan ticket because these two great leaders will not duck the serious issues facing our country, but rather face them head on in our mission to restore fiscal sanity in Washington D.C.”


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