Rob Zerban

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Robert Zerban
Rob Zerban.jpg
Rob Zerban
Born Belleville, Illinois
Residence Kenosha County, Wisconsin
Alma mater Culinary Institute of America
Occupation Businessman
Political party
Spouse(s) Cornelia
Campaign site

Rob Zerban is an entrepreneur, former Kenosha County Supervisor, and Congressional candidate. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Zerban's campaign for the United States House of Representatives in 2012 largely focused on protecting Social Security and Medicare, his experience running two businesses, and bringing industry back to Wisconsin's 1st congressional district.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Zerban was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois,[2] growing up in poverty as the youngest of three children in a single-parent household.[3] Zerban attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.[4] Zerban founded two food service companies, both of which he later sold.[2][5]

Zerban moved to Kenosha County in 2004. He would serve two terms as the Kenosha County supervisor from the 2nd district.[5] Zerban and his wife, Cornelia, frequently protested the actions of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.[5]

Congressional candidacies[edit]

Zerban ran for Congress in 2012 in Wisconsin's 1st congressional district. His opponent was Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who was simultaneously the Republican nominee for Vice President. Zerban's campaign focused in part on Ryan's Medicare Plan and his experience as a small business owner.[6] Zerban's campaign had success using Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" chats, before such chats had become popular.[7] Ryan won just under 55 percent of the vote, his lowest share in any of his re-election bids.[8] rated two of Zerban's statements which it suspected of being false or misleading. Politifact labeled the claim by Zerban that "Paul Ryan backs cutting veterans funding 24 percent" as False,[9] and the claim that Paul Ryan’s budget plan "ends Medicare" as Pants on Fire.[10] The claim rated pants on fire by politifact in his first TV ad, released Oct. 4, 2012 was later dubbed one of the Scariest lines of the 2012 campaign.[11]

On February 7, 2014, the Federal Election Commission reported proceedings that found reason to believe Zerban's congressional campaign and Randy Bryce, in his official capacity as treasurer, failed to disclose $438,682.66 in disbursements on a pre-general report. The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $8,500.[12]

Zerban chose to run once more in 2014.[13] He won the Democratic nomination on August 12, 2014, with 25,602 votes (78%) to 7313 votes (22%) for Amar Kaleka.[14]

Electoral history[edit]

Year Office District Democratic Republican Other
2012 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Rob Zerban 43% Paul Ryan 55% Keith Deschler (L) 2%


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Moody, Chris (October 10, 2013). "From chef to candidate: Meet Rob Zerban, the other Democrat running against Paul Ryan". Yahoo News. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ Pierce, Charles P. (April 13, 2012). "A Man Who Looks Paul Ryan's Storm Dead in the Eye". Esquire. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Logiuriato, Brett (November 5, 2012). "Meet The Man Who Is Challenging Paul Ryan To His Toughest House Race In More Than A Decade". Business Insider. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Potente, Joe (March 26, 2011). "County Board supervisor mulls run against Paul Ryan". Kenosha News. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (July 18, 2011). "Rob Zerban's long-shot bid challenges Paul Ryan". Politico. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ Byers, Alex (October 10, 2012). "Political Reddit AMA chats on the rise". Politico. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ Gonzales, Nathan L. (October 21, 2013). "From Family Tragedy to Congress Is a Difficult Trail". Roll Call. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Paul Ryan backs cutting veterans funding 24 percent, House opponent Rob Zerban says". Journal Sentinel. August 9, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Paul Ryan's House opponent, Democrat Rob Zerban, says Ryan budget "ends Medicare"". Journal Sentinel. October 4, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ Adair, Bill (October 30, 2012). "Scariest lines of the 2012 campaign". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ Ingram, Judith (February 7, 2014). "Weekly Digest Week of February 3 - 7". Federal Election Commission Weekly Digest. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ramde, Dinesh (October 24, 2013). "Zerban to mount 2nd challenge to Ryan". The Journal Time. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Election Results: Congress Dist. 1 Dem Primary" WTMJ-TV website; August 13, 2014

External links[edit]