BUFFALO, NY - When Kathy Hochul won her seat in Congress last year and became a Democrat representing a very Republican district, she says it was in part because of Paul Ryan.
"Everyone knows what happened last year. We ran against the Ryan budget," said Hochul.
A budget that would drastically reduce the federal deficit by making fundamental changes to Medicare.
And now that Hochul faces re-election, the charismatic Congressman from Wisconsin is back in the spotlight, this time as Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate.
"My hope is this will shift the debate to the issues, the economy, jobs, spending, Obamacare. I think the public wants to hear where we stand on the issues," said congressional candidate Chris Collins.
Chris Collins, the Republican former Erie County Executive, is running against Hochul.
"Chris Collins does not support the Ryan cuts to Medicare," said Chris Grant, an advisor to the campaign.
Still, Hochul's camp is hoping to link Ryan to her opponent, in the hopes it will help her win.
Last time around, Hochul beat the Republican candidate, Jane Corwin.
But Republican Political Analyst Carl Calabrese says and this time, things will play out much differently locally. He says Corwin's problem wasn't supporting Ryan's plan, it was that she failed in defending it.
"Republicans have learned that you don't do into a defensive crouch over Medicare, you aggressively tell people that unless we deal with is, it's going bankrupt," said Calabrese.
But at the same time- Democrats say Ryan's budget is so controversial- Romney's pick will only play out in Hochul's favor.
Erie County Democratic chairman Len Lenihan said, "I also think it will protect Kathy Hochul in a very tough district that she's running in, because basically the Ryan budget is not a common sense budget. It's a radical budget."
Either way, Romney's pick is making the federal deficit a campaign issue that's in the forefront of both the presidential election and the race for the 27th congressional district.
"The voters are going to have a very clear choice between Kathy Hochul and myself on which direction we want to go," said Collins.
The new 27th district is more heavily Republican than the current 26th district is.
But Hochul has been working to be seen as a more independent voice - trying to separate herself a bit from Democrats.