Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanMinnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Congress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left MORE (D-Ohio) is launching a presidential bid, joining an already crowded primary field to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in 2020.
An outspoken moderate in the House who once challenged Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November 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.
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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 ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida 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 BrownHillicon Valley: Senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | Amazon pauses police use of its facial recognition tech | FBI warns hackers are targeting mobile banking apps Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests Some realistic solutions for income inequality 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 CordrayRichard Adams CordrayPoll: Biden, Trump neck and neck in Ohio On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials ‘looking at’ offering coronavirus bonds Ex-CFPB director urges agency to ‘act immediately’ to help consumers during pandemic MORE 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 Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness 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 GabbardGabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic MORE (D-Hawaii.).
Two other House members, Reps. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellNASCAR bans display of Confederate flag from events and properties Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Grenell says intelligence community working to declassify Flynn-Kislyak transcripts MORE (D-Calif.) and Seth MoultonSeth MoultonEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Overnight Defense: Trump’s move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd’s death ‘a national tragedy’ Democrats blast Trump’s use of military against protests 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 DelaneyThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says there will be consequences from fraying US-China relations; WHO walks back claims on asymptomatic spread of virus 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.