Following Multi-State Tour, Ohio Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan Mulls 2020 Run

Saturday evening, Ohio Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan made one of his last appearances in a multi-state blitz tour of early presidential primary states. When Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown decided not to run last month, most Ohioans thought that would be it for Ohio politicians entering the 2020 race. Yet Rep. Ryan, despite not announcing his candidacy or forming an exploratory committee, seems to be making all the moves one would expect from a 2020 candidate.

The nine-term representative from Ohio’s 13th district (formerly 17th), has been prominently featured at several Iowa events. Saturday, he appeared at the Heartland Forum. The event was organized and sponsored by the Huffington Post, several Iowa state papers, and Open Markets Action. Ryan was joined by declared and potential candidates; “former U.S. HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. John Delaney, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tim Ryan, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.”

While he has found positive support at this and most of his campaign events, some of his recent comments seem to clash with the direction of the Democratic party in 2020. At an event in New Hampshire, the potential 2020 candidates said to Fox News:

I think we’ve got to be very careful. We come off sometimes as hostile to business… we’ve got to come together. And that includes being engaged with the business community. You can be hostile to greed, you can be hostile to income inequality, you can be for raising raises … but you can’t be hostile to businesses because 98 percent of businesses are small business people. We can’t green the economy without the power of the free-market system.

While the majority of the 2020 democratic candidates have attempted to distance themselves from the “socialist” handle, these comments may bristle the more vocal elements of the democratic coalition that wish to see their party unequivocally embrace socialism.

In interviews and meetings, of Rep. Ryan has expressed what he sees as his key political advantage: the ability to win over the President Trump voters who left the Democratic party in the 2016 election. In a local interview, Jeremy Dumkrieger, the Woodbury County Democratic Party Chair specifically stated of Rep. Ryan:

I think being from Ohio and someone who can win and trump districts especially, he knows how to relate to folks who are working those industries who are just devastated by the tariffs situation and he knows how to win and fight for those people.

This strategy is not far off from the one almost enacted by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D): make a progressive case that emphasized healthcare, unions, and protections for blue-collar workers in the hope of harmonizing the socialist and blue-collar voters into one coalition. It’s worth noting, however, that Brown, who outlined this approach, declined to run after testing it in key battleground and early primary states. Many speculate that the reason he declined to run was that this message failed to resonate with the more pragmatic blue-collar voters.

As of Sunday, he has returned home to Ohio and his announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio StarSend tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tim Ryan Campaigns” by Tim Evanson CC2.0.







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