Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, a Democrat from one of the nation’s most coveted swing states, announced his candidacy for president on Thursday, bringing the Democratic primary field to 17.
Mr. Ryan, who represents a district in northeastern Ohio that includes Youngstown and part of Akron, is perhaps best known for his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and his accompanying argument that Democrats have stopped connecting with working-class voters, especially in the Midwest. He challenged Ms. Pelosi for the minority leader position in 2016.
He began his presidential campaign with an appearance Thursday morning on ABC’s “The View,” in which he emphasized jobs and the economy. “I’m a progressive who knows how to talk to working-class people,” he said. “At the end of the day, the progressive agenda is what’s best for working families.”
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Mr. Ryan’s path to the nomination is steep, and not just because the field is so crowded. The last — and only — sitting House member to be elected president was James Garfield in 1880.
But Mr. Ryan believes there is an opening in the race for a Midwesterner who can focus on winning back the voters who flipped to President Trump in 2016, turning states like Michigan and Wisconsin red for the first time in about three decades. It is the same role Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is trying to play.
Of the 17 Democratic candidates, only three — Mr. Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mr. Ryan — are from the Midwest.
On “The View,” Mr. Ryan said his daughter had called him one day, crying because her friend was going to have to move because a local General Motors plant had closed.
“My daughter called me and said, ‘You’ve got to do something,’” Mr. Ryan recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m going to do something. I’m going to run for president of the United States.’”
Follow Maggie Astor on Twitter: @MaggieAstor.
Matt Stevens contributed reporting.
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