Tim Ryan’s pro-GOP campaign unsettles Ohio Republicans

AKRON, Ohio – A once largely unimaginable scenario rocked the Ohio political scene all summer.

Can Rep. Tim Ryan upset the US Senate race?

The Democrat airs ads on Fox News, talks non-stop about China and promising Putting “Americans First” in a state where former President Donald Trump won by healthy margins. His Republican opponent, “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance, has Trump’s endorsement but faces criticism for being idle while Ryan outperforms, outperforms and outperforms him.

Though independent polls are rare, some local GOP leaders believe the general election is too close for comfort and have had problems hide their frustrations. “They break bridges faster than they can build them,” said a Republican activist in the state, who asked honestly for anonymity, of Vance’s campaign.

Ryan, meanwhile, presents himself as a postpartisan populist — someone a voter might mistake for a Republican.

“Conservatives aren’t wrong about everything,” Ryan said in an interview with NBC News this week after touring an incubator in an old rubber factory in downtown Akron. “Democrats are not right about everything”

The open Senate seat — Republican incumbent Rob Portman is not seeking re-election — has set the stage for a conflict over political identity and authenticity. Will Ohioans continue their right turn toward Trumpism by voting for Vance, once a vocal Trump critic who now embraces him? the right-wing culture wars? Or will they reward Ryan, a ten-term congressman and former presidential candidate who focuses on questions around the kitchen table, keeps his distance from President Joe Biden and targets working-class voters who have fled the Democratic Party?

“A lot of people just know s— is broken,” Ryan said. “We’re all mad at each other. The pandemic sucked – economic meltdown, we’re all pissed. … So who’s going to be the one to show up and say, ‘OK, put down your guns?’ let’s find out Let’s talk.”

Ryan’s GOP-friendly message has garnered attention, to the point where Vance can’t make fundraising calls without hearing about it.

“I actually spoke to a donor yesterday who told me he thought Tim Ryan would run in the Republican primary,” Vance said in a phone interview. “And he was confused because he thought the Republican primary was over.”

Vance mostly went quiet after winning that contest, a chaotic and expensive fight in which his pro-Trump credentials were scrutinized. According to AdImpact, a media tracking company, Ryan, who easily defeated two lesser-known candidates for his party’s nomination, has since spent more than $7.5 million on advertising. Over the same period, Vance and a super PAC funded by tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel have spent just $132,000 combined. The campaign began in July with more money — $883,000, including a $700,000 personal loan from Vance, according to a last financial report – when it was available, though Vance has access to other PACs and expects to be better funded for the fall.

“Basically, I see this race as Tim doing this weird thing that assumes we’re never going to spend a dime on TV,” Vance said. “This whole image that he created is going to collapse because he has invariably voted with his own party on everything, big and small.”

Dave Johnson, the GOP chairman in Columbiana County, south of Ryan’s Youngstown district and a gateway to the remote and rural areas of the state where Republicans scored in the last election, waved off Vance’s struggles.

“He’s just out of a very expensive primary school and I think his focus at this stage is raising the money he needs to put together an effective TV campaign,” Johnson said.

“Anyone who thinks Tim Ryan is going to find a foothold among Trump voters in Ohio,” he added, “is smoking some.”

Democrats have won little at the state level in Ohio over the past three decades, the few exceptions in recent years being Senator Sherrod Brown and some state Supreme Court justices in bipartisan general elections.

Ryan has prioritized visits to southern and southeastern Ohio. Some Democrats have questioned whether he is overcorrecting at the expense of the party’s Liberal base in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

“But I think most Democrats here, especially in these southern counties, are thrilled that they have a candidate they can actually put up a yard sign and wear a t-shirt on and be proud to go to the county fair and to say, ‘Tim Ryan is my type’ — and that not every independent or Republican thinks he’s crazy,” Ryan said.

Collin Docterman, leader of the Democrats in Scioto County, where Vance fought this week, said Ryan’s attention to southern Ohio could help cut in GOP margins in November. Portman was re-elected in 2016 by more than 20 points and Brown, also leaning toward those working-class areas, won a third term in 2018 by nearly 7 points against a weak opponent.

“Trump is still a very animating figure here,” Docterman said. “You are speaking to the chair of the Democratic Party of a district who overwhelmingly voted for JD Vance in the nomination process. That being said, Tim Ryan seems to be working very hard to resonate with the drifted core folks.”

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who unlike Vance has avoided delving too deeply into the culture wars, is up for re-election this year and faces a challenge from Democrat Nan Whaley, former Mayor of Dayton. She and Ryan run noticeably different races.

Ryan has Confirmation of Planned Parenthood and speaks forcefully about abortion rights when asked, but Whaley made the issue a central focus of her campaign after the US Supreme Court overthrew Roe vs. Wade. Ryan, who was anti-abortion until 2015acknowledged the possibility that split-ticket voters could support him and DeWine while Whaley is out of luck.

“I mean, I really don’t have the luxury of worrying about anyone else,” he said. “We’re trying to come up with a message and a theme that everyone can go under. But we focus on that like a laser.”

Ryan’s voting record in the House of Representatives and his earlier comments Systemic racism in law enforcement is the main evidence that Vance believes conflicts with the temperate personality he has cultivated. Ryan, who likes to say that “you don’t have to agree 100% with anyone,” voted 100% in line with Biden’s agenda. according to FiveThirtyEight.com.

Vance, as involved in the culture wars, also highlighted a recent Fox News story who reported that Ryan and other Democratic Senate candidates have not responded to loaded questions about gender identity issues — how they define the word “woman” and whether they believe a man can conceive.

“Do I think it’s an important issue for the average Ohio voter? Certainly not,” Vance said. “They’re worried about the fact that thanks to Joe Biden and Tim Ryan, they can’t afford to put food on the table. But do I think it’s an indication of what kind of political leader Tim Ryan is that he can’t honestly answer basic questions? Yes I do.”

Pushed his loyalty to Biden this week, Ryan who skipped The president’s recent event in Ohio offered two points of contention. He is upset that the president is overlooking potential trade violations and banning tariffs on Chinese solar panel makers. And he said he was “frustrated that we didn’t pass a tax cut.”

Ryan is also not happy about the support of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive firebrand from New York following the Roe decision promised to help Ryan and other Democratic Senate candidates in tough races. Vance’s campaign and others have framed it as an endorsement.

“That’s not a helpful endorsement here,” Ryan said. “I wasn’t looking for it either.”

A veteran Republican strategist in Ohio, who didn’t back Vance in the primary, wondered if he counted on Trump to carry him again in the general election.

“If Trump comes to two rallies, it’s locked,” said the strategist, who is unsure about voting for Vance this fall and asked for anonymity to speak candidly. “Ryan is doing a good job of getting out of there. My question is: will the Democrats be able to muster the intensity and turnout for a candidate who doesn’t support the progressive party line?”

Justin Barasky, who ran Brown’s 2018 campaign and works for the company that produces Ryan’s ads, sees the Democrat building a unique coalition.

“The overwhelming majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats in this state care about the same things,” Barasky said. “This is not a state that is politically aligned like Alabama or Wyoming or the Dakotas. It just isn’t like that. When you have someone who represents something like that jaded middle, like Tim Ryan, it’s not that surprising that he could do well.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2022-election/tim-ryans-gop-friendly-campaign-unsettles-republicans-ohio-rcna40106 Tim Ryan’s pro-GOP campaign unsettles Ohio Republicans

Fry Electronics Team

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