Ryan is presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate.
The congressman grew up 100 miles northwest of Chicago in Janesville, Wisconsin. It's a union town with a shuttered GM plant on the outskirts with more Democrats there than Republicans.
"It is a Democratic area, but I think Paul in many ways has superseded that by being a good politician," said Scott Angus, editor, The Gazette Bite.
A politician this district has sent to congress seven times.
Things around Paul Ryan's neighborhood have change since he joined the ticket 19 days ago. There are barricades around the family home and Secret Service protection for Ryan's wife and three children.
But there is also a real excitement in Janesville. There's the Paul Ryan turkey burger at 29 South Café, and a buzz at the campaign office downtown.
"I just think he's such a huge deal and everybody says he's just a normal guy, but I don't think so. He's huge," said Alyssa Leitz, Ryan supporter.
"My wife and I are always about people being a genuinely good person, and that's Paul," said Val Crofts, Ryan friend.
The GOP needs that to come across and have Ryan show he's competent enough to lead the country. How does he do that?
"We've got college graduates living in our basements and we know people in foreclosure without jobs, and he has to convey that there is a different path and he has to do it in terms people can understand," said State Sen. Christine Radogno (R) Minority Leader.
"He has to do what he has been doing, just talk about his message where he is talking about fixing the economy, pro growth agenda," said Pat Brady, Illinois Republican Party chairman. "I think he's one of our best spokespersons for all these issues, he's a great running mate for Mitt Romney and he's one of our best speakers."