Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocrats brace for flood of retirements after Virginia rout Ohio Republicans swing for fences in redistricting proposals Ohio redistricting commission gives up on US House map MORE (D-Ohio) is launching a presidential bid, joining an already crowded primary field to take on President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE in 2020.
An outspoken moderate in the House who once challenged Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy raised 0K after marathon speech Davis passes on bid for governor in Illinois, running for reelection to House Feehery: Why Democrats are now historically unpopular MORE (D-Calif.) in a leadership race, Ryan is jumping into a nominating contest dominated by high-profile candidates angling their appeals toward the party’s progressive flank.
“Tim is an independent, no-nonsense congressman from Ohio fighting to rebuild our economy by investing in American workers,” says his campaign website, which was launched Thursday.
“A lifelong Rust Belt native, Tim understands that the American Dream is falling too far out of reach. That’s why he’s focused on restoring stability to our fractured communities by rebuilding our economy to work for all Americans.”
As he built up to his announcement during an interview on ABC’s “The View” on Thursday, Ryan recounted how his father-in-law was laid off from Youngstown Sheet and Tube in the late 1970s and, later, how jobs at a local factory in Ohio were off-shored to China.
Ryan said he made the decision to run for president when his daughter recently told him that her friend’s father, who worked at a General Motors plant, was being transferred.
“She said, ‘You gotta do something,’ and I said, ‘I’m going to do something and I’m going to run for president of the United States,’” Ryan said.
Ryan has had a focus on manufacturing in his nine terms in the House, and has offered legislation seeking to change U.S. trade policy in response to actions by China and other trading partners.
President Trump carried states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, tearing down the so-called blue wall that Democrats have long relied on in the region.
In jumping into the Democratic nominating contest, Ryan is betting that his credentials as a moderate from Ohio will help him appeal to centrist, working-class voters in the Midwestern states that Democrats are eager to win back in 2020.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE won Ryan’s northeastern Ohio district in 2016. But Trumbull County, which makes up a large swath of the state’s 13th Congressional District, swung hard for Trump that same year, despite former President Obama’s 22-point win there in 2012.
Ryan won reelection easily last year, scoring a 22-point victory over Republican Chris DePizzo and outperforming Clinton in his district. Even though that race was not considered competitive, Ryan still managed to rake in a sizable $1.6 million for his campaign.
Ryan’s announcement came almost a month after another Ohio Democrat, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownPowell says Fed will consider faster taper amid surging inflation Biden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee MORE, said he would not jump into the 2020 contest after months of speculation that he was preparing for a campaign.
Like Ryan, Brown won reelection last year, despite a handful of Republican victories statewide.
Ohio, a perennial battleground state, has appeared to move further into the GOP’s corner in recent years. Trump won the state in 2016 by 8 points, and just last year, Republican Mike DeWine defeated Democrat Richard Cordray by nearly 4 points in the governor’s race there.
After Trump’s victory in the state in 2016, Ryan mounted an unsuccessful bid against then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead the Democrats in the House, arguing that the party needed new leadership that would do more to court the working-class voters.
Ryan is the latest candidate to jump into an already-crowded primary field that includes Democratic heavyweights and rising stars, like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump: McConnell must use debt limit to crush Biden agenda Building back a better vice presidency Stacey Abrams nominated to board of solar energy firm MORE (D-Calif.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (I-Vt.).
The Ohio Democrat’s entrance into the race makes him the 17th candidate to do so.
In announcing his presidential campaign, Ryan becomes the second sitting House member to mount a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, after Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (D-Hawaii.).
Two other House members, Reps. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Omar calls out Boebert over anti-Muslim remarks, denies Capitol incident took place MORE (D-Calif.) and Seth MoultonSeth MoultonBill seeks to aid families of Black WWII veterans deprived of GI benefits How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation GOP lawmaker says he did not threaten US Embassy staff in Tajikistan MORE (D-Mass.), are said to be weighing 2020 bids as well, and have made numerous trips to early primary and caucus states in recent months.
At the same time, two former congressmen, O’Rourke and John DelaneyJohn DelaneyMaryland Democrats target lone Republican in redistricting scheme Warning: Joe Biden's 'eat the rich' pitch may come back to bite you Direct air capture is a crucial bipartisan climate policy MORE (D-Md.), are also vying for the 2020 nomination.
It’s unclear if Ryan will step down from his House seat now that he’s entered the presidential contest. Swalwell has said he would resign from the chamber if he chooses to jump into the race.
--Updated at 12:32 p.m.