Inside Ryan's primary strategy

Just nine months on the job as Speaker, Ryan and his campaign team are trying to avoid the mistakes made by Virginia Republican Eric Cantor, the House majority leader and fellow “Young Gun” who two years ago saw his political career abruptly ended by a little-known Tea Party challenger named Dave Brat.

Unlike Cantor, who ran a spate of negative TV ads against Brat, Ryan hasn’t directly engaged with Nehlen in media interviews or campaign ads — fearing it could backfire and boost the profile of the poorly funded political newcomer.

Instead, Team Ryan’s TV ads have focused on national security and trust, two issues important to Wisconsin voters. Separate from the campaign, the Speaker’s office has been pumping out videos touting the bond he shares with his mother and his positive election-year agenda dubbed “A Better Way.”

He’s now second in line to the presidency, but Ryan also has made a point to fly back home to the district nearly every weekend to meet with constituents and see his family.