Campaign

Rep. Tim Ryan announces presidential run

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is launching a presidential bid, joining an already crowded primary field to take on President Trump in 2020.

An outspoken moderate in the House who once challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (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.

{mosads}“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 Clinton 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 Brown, 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 Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (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 Gabbard (D-Hawaii.).

Two other House members, Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Seth Moulton (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 Delaney (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.

Tags 2020 Democratic field Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Eric Swalwell Hillary Clinton John Delaney Nancy Pelosi Ohio presidential bid Richard Cordray Seth Moulton Sherrod Brown Tim Ryan Tulsi Gabbard
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