Win Or Lose, Tim Ryan Is The Future Of Democratic Senate Campaigns

by | Nov 6, 2022 | Politics

Key figures in the Democratic Party increasingly view Rep. Tim Ryan’s campaign in Ohio this cycle as an important test case for a slew of critical and challenging 2024 Senate races — even if many remain skeptical Ryan can actually pull off a victory on Tuesday.Ryan’s U.S. Senate campaign, which has kept him neck and neck with Republican venture capitalist J.D. Vance despite Ohio’s conservative lean, the poor overall political environment and a massive outside spending advantage for the GOP, has already become an object of fascination for key operatives and donors. They’re hoping to replicate his economic-focused strategy and his approach to breaking with the national party and progressives.AdvertisementVance has opened up a clear but small lead in public polling over Ryan, though the Democrat is persuading a significant number of voters to split their tickets: Polls typically show him running 5 percentage points or more ahead of former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the party’s gubernatorial nominee. That skill is going to be crucial for Senate Democrats in 2024, when they will have three incumbents — Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio — running for reelection in states Donald Trump won by more than 8 percentage points in 2020. The party has another four incumbents running in states Trump won in 2016 before losing four years later. And it has few obvious pickup opportunities, with Republican-leaning Florida and Texas hosting the most vulnerable senators.Politics in Ohio, like almost all of Democrats’ tough Senate seats in 2024, is dominated by white working-class voters, who have moved sharply toward the GOP during the Trump era. Their prevalence in key presidential swing states and dominance of the nation’s less-populated states has put Democrats at a significant disadvantage in the Electoral College and Senate.“We can’t write off big areas of the country and expect to win the Senate,” said former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who ran 5 points ahead of President Joe Biden as a Senate candidate in 2020 but lost regardless. “I think people are excited about what Tim has been doing.” Advertisement Rep. Tim Ryan, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, speaks during a Souls to the Polls rally at Mount Hermon Baptist Church on Nov. 5 in Columbus, Ohio. Key figures in the Democratic Party increasingly view Ryan’s campaign as an important test case for a slew of critical and challenging 2024 Senate races.Drew Angerer via Getty ImagesRyan has also won admirers among almost the entire Biden-era Democratic coalition, from Never Trump figures such as Republican Accountability Project founder Sarah Longwell to the major labor unions who funded a super PAC backing Ryan to progressives in the orbit of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The donor network that’s built up around LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman has been particularly intrigued by Ryan’s campaign, three Democratic sources said.It amounts to a massive personal political turnaround for the Young …

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