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Ryan’s presidential bid is fizzling

By David Skolnick

Friday, July 19, 2019

The future of U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s presidential campaign looks rather bleak.

His final hope to make any sort of impact comes during the second Democratic presidential debates at the end of the month.

But even that is highly unlikely to move the needle enough for his campaign to grow.

Ryan of Howland, D-13th, can stick it out on the campaign trail as long as he wants and has the money to do so, but poor fundraising and polling numbers have probably doomed his longshot candidacy.

That became obvious when his campaign sent an email at 9:30 p.m. Friday – a news dump if there ever was one – with his fundraising numbers. While the campaign tried to put a positive spin on it, it was no use.

Ryan raised only $889,398.86 between April and June for his presidential bid.

I wrote “only” because it was the least amount of money for any of the 20 Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for the initial June debates and the ones on July 30 and 31.

On top of that, Ryan’s campaign raised less money than Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. Neither of them made the June debate stage.

Ryan was second to last among candidates in money raised from donors because ex-U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland received $284,476 from individual contributions. However, Delaney loaned his campaign a staggering $7.75 million in the second quarter of the year.

Not only was Ryan’s dollar figure low, but his campaign reported he had about 13,000 donors.

To make it to the September and October debates, Democratic presidential candidates need at least 130,000 unique donors [with a minimum of 400 different donors from at least 20 states]. Ryan has about 10 percent of that.

Also, the candidates need to have at least 2 percent support in four qualifying polls between June 28 and Aug. 28 to qualify for the third and fourth debates.

Ryan has not reached that in any of the polls taken since June 28.

To make matters worse for him, the only qualifying poll that ever had him at 2 percent – the University of New Hampshire’s poll of that state’s Democrats in April – came out with a new poll earlier this week. Ryan had 0 percent in that one.

Ryan has counted on momentum in New Hampshire, the state with the nation’s first presidential primary and where he went to law school, to help him grow his campaign. Despite numerous visits to the state, it apparently hasn’t helped Ryan.

To date, there are six candidates who qualify for the September and October debates.

It’s virtually impossible for Ryan to qualify.

The threshold for the first two debates was a lot less, which is why he qualified. A candidate needed either at least 1 percent in three qualifying polls or at least 65,000 unique donors. Ryan made it because of polling.

Even if Ryan somehow manages to register 2 percent in four polls by Aug. 28, he’s not going to pick up about 117,000 additional donors in the next month-plus.

The Democratic field is already taking shape with five frontrunners ahead in polling and fundraising. They are former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

The sixth candidate to qualify for the third and fourth debates is ex-U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who is seeing his campaign struggle.

But O’Rourke’s struggle is nothing compared to the rest of the field, which will likely thin out in the coming months.

I told Ryan that it didn’t look like he would make the third debate and asked if he would continue the campaign if he failed to do so. He said, “You’re jumping to a lot of conclusions.”

I also asked if he had concerns about meeting the donor and polling requirements. He said, “Things can change on a dime. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Asked if he was disappointed by his fundraising totals and if he could reach 130,000 unique donors for the third debate, Ryan said: “I’m not disappointed at all. We are building support and expanding staff. We had very good fundraising days after the debate and continue to get support on the ground in the early states. We will be on the debate stage, and as we saw, everything can change pretty quickly in this race. It is very fluid.”

Fluid? Yes. Trending in the right direction? No.