Republican Paul Ryan lost Tuesday in his bid to be the next US vice president but kept his seat in the House of Representatives, leaving the young conservative with a platform for potential future ambitions.
With most results in, Ryan was winning 56 percent of the vote in his district in Wisconsin even though President Barack Obama carried the Midwestern state. Ryan, 42, faced Rob Zerban, a former county official in Kenosha.
Ryan, the first member of so-called Generation X to win a spot on a presidential ticket, is passionate about cutting government spending and has proposed major reforms in the Medicare health plan for older Americans.
With Mitt Romney's loss to Democrat Obama, Ryan has immediately become the topic of speculation on whether he will seek the Republican Party's nomination to be president in 2016.
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has been an outspoken opponent of Obama's health care reform plan that aims to expand access to the uninsured.
But some media reports have speculated that Ryan may decide that he can increase his profile by resigning from the House, starting a new career as a lecturer or an author.
Ryan's district, which includes historically blue-collar cities as Janesville and Kenosha, is not considered completely safe for Republicans and no obvious opportunities for statewide office are coming up in Wisconsin.
Ryan declined to debate Zerban, saying that voters had already heard from him during his faceoff against Vice President Joe Biden, although Ryan ran commercials on Wisconsin television for his own seat.
Four years ago, Sarah Palin quickly became a favorite of conservative activists after Senator John McCain tapped the plain-spoken Alaska governor as his running mate in his unsuccessful race against Obama.
Palin later quit as governor and focused on writing a book and television appearances.