In an interview, Ryan made the case that Democrats can still win in Ohio.
“My experience has been just focusing on the workers, their families, the issues that are important to them, recognizing how hard they are working and still not getting by and getting ahead,” Ryan told CNN. “That is what people are going to vote for.”
“They don’t care what political party you are with,” he added. “They want to know who you are for.”
Ryan said that his constituents are “working harder than ever before, doing everything right and still can’t get ahead” and that is why he plans to “focus like a laser beam on workers” during his Senate run. He says that includes touting the Covid relief bill and pushing infrastructure reform, two early priorities for President Joe Biden’s administration.
Ryan has received encouragement from national and local leaders to enter the race, including from Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, and Ohio State Conference of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
In the past three election cycles, Republicans won statewide races in Ohio for president, governor and Senate. Donald Trump beat then-Democratic presidential candidate Biden there by 8 points in November. But Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s 2018 reelection victory gave the Democratic Party hope that its populist wing could still resonate in Ohio.
“One thing that we have an opportunity to do is show that with diverse candidates, with women and people of color, there is a pathway to win,” Sykes has told CNN. “What we are learning is that when you put women on the ballot, women win. When you put people of color on the ballot, we win.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.