Tim Ryan Isn’t A Republican — But You Can Believe He Is Until Wednesday

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Politics

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republicans have a pretty standard closing message in Ohio a day out from the midterm elections: a focus on the economy, family values and an unpopular Democratic president.But there is one aspect of their message that stands out, and that’s reminding undecided voters that the Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Ohio is actually a Democrat and not a Republican. If it sounds a little weird, that’s because it kind of is.AdvertisementOhio’s Senate race pits Republican J.D. Vance, an author and venture capitalist who won his primary with Donald Trump’s backing, against Democrat Tim Ryan, a congressman whom some outside the state might know better for his blip of a 2020 presidential campaign.Or, if you’re a right-leaning voter who doesn’t follow Ohio politics especially closely, you might still know Ryan from Fox News, where he’s been running ads highlighting moderate stances on economic issues.Republicans in at least one “deep red” Ohio county are taking notice, Ryan told a rally audience outside the Cleveland headquarters of an ironworkers union Sunday night. “People are calling the Republican county office and they’re asking for Tim Ryan yard signs. We’re gonna win this race,” he said.Ryan has subtly positioned himself as welcoming to Republicans who don’t share what he calls Vance’s “extremist” sensibilities. “We have to fight the extremist movement in this country,” Ryan said, a message he’s hammered relentlessly throughout this contentious race. “The exhausted majority has to step up. Democrats, Republicans and independents against the extremists. It’s the extremists that are preventing us from rebuilding the middle class. It’s the extremists that are preventing us from getting good trade deals. It’s the extremists that are preventing us from protecting Social Security.”AdvertisementGiven the political shifts in white America that accelerated under Trump, Democrats are becoming outnumbered by Republicans in the nation’s former presidential bellwether. So Ryan has adapted: praising Trump when it makes sense to — like conceding that he had some good ideas on trade and manufacturing — and running ads on Fox News in a naked attempt to siphon GOP votes from Vance. It’s all tactical, to a degree: The math just doesn’t work for Ryan unless he picks up some crossover votes. (And even then it may be a stretch: A poll released Sunday found Vance leading Ryan by 10 percentage points, while earlier polls forecast the race as much tighter). Republican J.D. Vance enters Tuesday’s election with a small polling lead in a competitive race.Phil Long/Associated PressRyan doesn’t go as far as to fully embrace Trump or the right’s social posturing. But in one commercial, Ryan’s camp mashed together clips of Fox News personalities like Bret Baier, Maria Bartiromo and Peter Doocy praisin …

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