The town's mayor, Kevin Epplen, is a registered Democrat who can't remember the last time he voted for one. Epplen says Paul Ryan's name on the ticket makes it more likely that he'll vote for Romney in November. "Honestly, I'd rather vote for (Paul Ryan) as president than vice president," he said.
This region's more moderate — some could say even conservative — tendencies may help explain why the Ryans' union in 2000 in an Oklahoma City church caused little heartburn for what had been a traditionally Democratic family. (Dan Little, Janna's father, switched his voter registration from Democrat to Republican last year.)
Since then, Paul Ryan has been a familiar figure in the region and regularly goes to his wife's hometown for hunting trips.
"People there love him," says Cole, who remembers unexpectedly seeing the Wisconsin congressman at an event in the area. Cole said he'll sometimes even pass along Madill constituents' concerns. "He's introduced me to people in my district that I otherwise might not have known."
Friends say they don't know if Janna Ryan ever considered herself a Democrat, but they note that she's worked for and comes from a line of "Blue Dog" Democrats who have often split from the national party.
"I think she would have gotten more hell from her friends if she married a Democrat," Belcher said.
Andrew DeMillo can be reached at www.twitter.com/ademillo
Associated Press writers Kasie Hunt in Norfolk, Va., and Steve Peoples in Lakewood, Colo., contributed to this report.
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