April 26 (UPI) — Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio on Monday became the first Democrat to jump into the race to claim the U.S. Senate seat that’s being vacated by Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
Portman, a two-term incumbent, announced in January that he wouldn’t run again when his term is up in 2022. He cited “partisan gridlock” in Washington, D.C., as a factor in his decision to leave Congress.
Ryan, who’s represented Ohio’s 13th District since 2013, appealed to workers in his announcement Monday.
“I’m running for U.S. Senate to fight like hell to cut workers in on the deal,” Ryan wrote in a tweet that accompanied a video announcement.
“We need to hit the reset button, we need to reimagine the entire thing,” Ryan says in the video.
“We need to invest in the businesses so they can create more jobs for even more workers. We need to step up our training in science and technology so the clean energy jobs come to Ohio today.
“We need to make huge investments into our public infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our airports, broadband [Internet]. We can actually revitalize manufacturing, secure U.S. supply chains, and make things here. We can do it … I promise. Never bet against Ohio.”
Ohio, once a blue-collar Democratic stronghold that voted twice for former President Barack Obama, has swung heavily to back Republicans. Former President Donald Trump carried the state in 2016 and 2020.
Some think Ryan, who reported raising $1.2 million in the first weeks of 2021 as he considered the Senate bid, could end up being the lone Democratic candidate in the race.
Four Republicans have so far announced a bid to replace Portman, including Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken and Cleveland-area businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno.
Ryan was a candidate for president in 2020 for about six months before he ended his campaign due to low polling and fundraising figures.
Ryan, 47, has been in the House since 2003, when he replaced expelled Rep. Jim Traficant, who was convicted of federal racketeering charges.