Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is reportedly set to launch a run for Ohio’s Senate seat that will be vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), whose unexpected announcement to retire next year is expected to draw a jam-packed Republican primary, according to the New York Times on Monday.
The Times reported that Ryan reached out to several Ohio and national Democrats in recent days regarding the seat currently held by Portman. The Republican senator’s seat is among the ones Democrats, with their new majority in the Senate, are hoping to flip.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has pushed Ryan to run for the Ohio Senate seat.
“I think he is the person with the best chance, given this political climate we’re in and given the way Ohio has been performing,” Strickland told the Times. “He has the ability to appeal to a lot of independents, and Democrats will be very excited about this candidacy.”
Additionally, Ryan has held discussions with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), who is the longest-serving member in Ohio’s congressional delegation, as well as national labor leaders such as Lee Saunders of AFSCME. Hillary Clinton has also urged Ryan, who mounted a long-shot presidential campaign in 2019, to run for the Ohio Senate.
Ryan told the Times on Monday that he was “encouraged by their support, enthusiasm and commitment,” referring to his recent conversations with state and national Democrats.
“The U.S. Senate needs another working-class voice, and I’m very serious about the opportunity to continue representing the people of Ohio,” Ryan told the Times.
Democrats briefed on Ryan’s planning told the Times that the Democratic House member is expected to announce his candidacy for the Senate by the beginning of March.