Rep. Tim Ryan says he’ll run for president if he thinks he can win


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said he’s giving strong consideration to running for president next year because “I have a voice that needs to be heard.”

Speaking with The Vindicator from Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Ryan said, “I won’t run if I don’t think I can win. I’m not in this for therapy or a vanity project. I’d run to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Ryan, of Howland, D-13th, said he’s looking at seeking the presidency because “the country is divided, and a divided country is a weak country. We can’t solve the big problems with a country divided.”

Ryan said he sees himself as a unifier who understands the struggles of those in the working class who continue to “fall behind or [are] barely able to keep their nose above water.”

He also said that “leaders in Washington” have “failed” to help struggling areas such as the Mahoning Valley.

“This would be for us,” Ryan said of a presidential bid. “In the last few years, I’ve seen so many communities with the same problems and same struggles” as this area.

Ryan said running for president “would be a sacrifice for me and my family, but I’m concerned” about areas that are being left behind.

The nine-term congressman said he’s in no rush to make a decision on running for president, something he has been considering for close to a year.

Over the years, Ryan has considered bids for governor and senator but has instead run for re-election to his safe Democratic seat.

Ryan unsuccessfully ran for House minority leader in 2016 against Nancy Pelosi, losing 134 to 63. He was a leader in a battle last year to keep Pelosi from becoming speaker of the House – and at one point mulled another run against her – but in mid-December, he backed her for the job after she agreed to a term-limits deal on her holding the post.

If Ryan ran for president in 2020, he said he also would seek re-election to his congressional seat.

Ryan would join a crowded field of Democrats who have either declared their candidacy for president or have established exploratory committees.

Ryan said he’s received a lot of encouragement from people throughout the country to seek the presidency, but declined to give their names.

Ryan said he will visit New Hampshire, the first presidential primary-election state, on Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s been a frequent visitor to the state.

He’ll be in Iowa, the first state with a presidential caucus, at the end of March, though he said he may get there before then.