Oct. 24--Underfunded and lacking voter enthusiasm, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announced Thursday that he has ended his long-shot bid for the presidency to focus instead on defending his congressional seat.
"I got into this race in April to really give voice to the forgotten people of our country: the workers who have been left behind, the businesses who have been left behind, the people who need health care or aren't getting a quality education, or are saddled by tremendous debt," Mr. Ryan said in a statement.
"While it didn't work out quite the way we planned, this voice will not be stifled. I will continue to advocate and fight for the working people of this country -- white, black, brown, men, women. There's people who get up every day, take a shower after work sometimes, that are working really hard. And we're going to continue to fight for making sure that those workers are treated fairly, and that they have access to good health care, that they have a solid pension to retire on."
A U.S. House member from the Youngstown area, Mr. Ryan was little known outside his northeast Ohio congressional district after seven months in the race. The congressman positioned himself as a centrist alternative to much of the Democratic field, with an eye toward blue collar-workers, unions, and trade deals that shipped Midwestern jobs overseas.
Similar to former Vice President Joe Biden, he framed his candidacy as an economic pitch to working-class voters who had supported President Trump back into the Democratic fold. He alluded frequently to the closed General Motors plant in his district, and called for the creation of a chief U.S. manufacturing officer to oversee that sector.
In one of his more notable debate moments, Mr. Ryan argued against the "Medicare for All" plan backed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren that would eliminate private insurance.
"I'm trying to explain that these union members are losing their jobs, wages have been stagnant, the world is crumbling around them," Mr. Ryan said during the second primary debate in Detroit. "The only thing they have is possibly really good health care, and the Democratic message is going to be, 'We're going to go ahead and the only thing you have left, we're going to take it, and we're going to do better.' I don't think that is a recipe for success for us."
But he never caught on with voters in what started out as an historically large primary field with more than 20 candidates. He raised just $425,000 over the summer -- and less than $1.3 million overall -- and did not qualify for the last Democratic debate in his home state. Nationally and in Ohio, he polled at around 1 percent.
Mr. Ryan is now running for re-election in Ohio's 13th Congressional District. A representative since 2003, he challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her position as then-House Minority Leader in 2017. He's also considered bids for the U.S. Senate and the Ohio governorship.
Outside politics, Mr. Ryan practices yoga and meditation, and has written several books on health and well being.
"I'll continue to fight, and I appreciate all of the effort on behalf of our volunteers, our staff, all of those who chipped in money and made a sacrifice to help get this campaign up and running," he said. "A deep heartfelt thanks to my wife Andrea, and my children -- Mason, Bella and Brady -- for picking up the slack while I've been on the campaign trail."
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