Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, a nine-term lawmaker known for his unsuccessful leadership challenge against Nancy Pelosi, launched a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, joining one of the largest primary fields in U.S. history.
On his campaign website, Ryan tied his presidential campaign to the recent closure of a Youngstown-area GM plant. "When our local GM factory was shutdown last Thanksgiving, I got a call from my daughter who was consoling her friend whose father was an auto worker and was just laid off," the congressman says on the site.
"My daughter said to me, with tears in her voice, 'You have to do something.' That's why I am running for president. It's time to do something."
Ryan enters a crowded race for president with more than a dozen candidates seeking to capture the Democratic nomination and thwart President Trump's reelection bid in 2020. So far, 16 Democrats have declared their candidacy for president or launched presidential exploratory committees, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.,
The Ohio legislator, who represents a district in the state's northeast, is expected to face an uphill battle improving his low name recognition in a race that features numerous high-profile contenders. But Ryan will likely tout his Midwestern roots to convince voters that his bid can get traction in battleground Rust Belt states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, which all voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.
Although he has served in Congress since 2003, Ryan garnered national attention following Mr. Trump's unexpected election in November 2016. Citing Democrats' loss of Midwestern states during the election — as well as the lack of youth in the party's leadership — Ryan launched an unsuccessful bid to replace Pelosi, then House Minority Leader.
After Democrats retook control of the House during the November midterm elections last year, the Ohio lawmaker again called for someone to replace Pelosi. Ryan, however, ultimately backed her bid to reclaim the speaker's gavel.
Ryan is also a member of the House Appropriations and Budget Committees. Before his tenure in Congress, he served in the Ohio legislature as a state senator.