U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said he’s “seriously considering” running for president in 2020, joining nearly a dozen fellow Democrats who hope to deny President Donald Trump a second term.
Ryan, who has represented his Youngstown–area congressional district since 2003, told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday night that while he isn’t working on any particular timeline, “I am seriously considering” running.
“The country is divided,” he said. “We can’t get anything done because of the huge divisions that we have and people in communities like the ones I represent are suffering because of this division. You can’t win the future divided.”
Were he to run, he could be one of three Ohioans fighting for the White House. Both Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, have indicated that they’re considering running, with Brown embracing many of the same working class issues Ryan has. Brown said this week he plans to decide whether to run next month.
Ryan, a Niles Democrat, has made periodic flirtations with higher office in recent years, passing on bids for Ohio governor in 2014 and 2018 and U.S. Senate in favor of representing a district that he won with 68 percent of the vote in 2014 and 2016 and with 61 percent of the vote last year.
But Ryan did, however, challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D–Calif., for minority leader after Democrats suffered sweeping losses in the industrial Midwest in the 2016 elections. During that race, he positioned himself as a Midwestern Democrat who could win some of the same blue-collar workers that embraced President Donald Trump in 2016 and criticized the Democratic Party for focusing too heavily on issues that appealed to the coasts rather than the Midwest.
He lost the minority leader race 134–63, but has emerged as a steady critic of the Democratic platform, originally withholding support of Pelosi when Democrats won the House last November. He ultimately voted for her for speaker.
Ryan has hinted broadly at running before this month, scheduling trips to early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire last year. Pressed about that travel last December, the 45-year-old lawmaker insisted he just goes where he’s invited to go, traveling also to Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama.
Speaking on CNN Wednesday, he said the wage gap is helping to drive his consideration. The fact that 400 people in the country have more wealth combined than 150 million, he said, is telling.
“Workers want cut in on the deal here,” he said. “And they haven’t been for 30 years.”