NILES, OH- EXCLUSIVE: Ask longtime Rep. Tim Ryan if he’s eager for President Biden to join him on the campaign trail in Ohio, and he’ll give you a brutally honest answer.
“No, I’m not, and I’m not really going to invite anyone,” the veteran congressman from Ohio and his state’s Democratic Senate candidate tells Fox News.
Ryan is highlighting his roots in Ohio and his strong support for the working class as he runs a populist-style campaign in a high-profile battle against Republican candidate JD Vance to win the recall of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, one of the few races in all the country. that will likely determine whether Republicans win back the Senate in the November midterms. Additionally, Ryan has repeatedly shown his political differences with the president on numerous issues, including border security and student debt relief.
“I disagree with Biden on the student loan. I disagree with Biden on a lot of other issues, Title 42 and these other issues, I’ve been very clear,” Ryan said during an exclusive national interview Monday at Giuseppe’s Italian Market in Niles, the small Northeast Ohio town. outside of Youngstown, where he was born and raised.
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In a state hit hard by the opioid crisis, and with the extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl smuggled across the US-Mexico border into Ohio, Ryan was asked if he was disappointed the president hadn’t yet visited the southern border.
“I mean, yeah. I’d like to see him go down there. I think that’s a big deal,” Ryan replied. “You know, we’re taking back a lot of drugs coming into the country, but not enough. I have a resolution to label fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction. And we need more Border Patrol. You know, we need more technology. I started the border technology caucus “.
And he promoted: “I recovered $500 million for law enforcement, so that local communities can have the resources they need to be able to fight this at the local level.”
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Ohio was once a major battleground in the general election, but former President Trump led the Buckeye state by eight points in both his 2016 election and 2020 re-election loss. Also, Sen. Sherrod Brown’s re-election in 2018 it was the only statewide win by an Ohio Democrat in recent cycles.
Yet with five weeks to go before Election Day, an average of the most recent public opinion polls indicates a race that is virtually even.
Asked how he’s kept things closed, Ryan explained: “I’m talking about the economy, jobs, wages, pensions, growing the economy, manufacturing, taking on China. Bread and butter issues. We stay away from very polarizing, culture wars that most people don’t care about, and we’re targeting their pocketbooks. And I think that’s what they want politicians to do, regardless of what party you belong to.”
Ryan also pushed a barrage of TV ads during the summer months for his campaign targeting Vance. Ryan outspent the former hedge fund executive and bestselling author who captured the GOP nomination in May thanks in part to Trump’s endorsement of a crowded and combustible GOP primary. “So all those commercials we ran in the summer defined him, and he’s not going to be able to recover from that,” Ryan argued.
Trump, whose rally with Vance just before the primary helped put the first-time candidate over the top, returned to Ohio last month to headline another Vance rally. Trump also made headlines when he refuted a New York Times story that suggested some Trump-backed Republican candidates, including Vance, were not inviting the former president to campaign again during the general election campaign.
“JD is kissing my ass, he wants my support,” Trump said as he pointed to what he called “fake” news. “The entire MAGA movement is for JD Vance,” the former president stressed.
Pointing to the rally, Ryan claimed that “Trump, even from the stage in Youngstown, Ohio, called JD Vance, a kisser, you know, and completely took away his manhood right there on stage in Youngstown, Ohio. And then JD He came back on stage and shook his hand. He smiled and took pictures.”
Ryan also argued that Vance “has to invite Trump. He has to invite Don Jr. He has to invite Lindsey Graham. He has to invite Ron DeSantis. He has to invite everyone to support him. It’s like, look, bro, you’re in a competition. You’re in a race, stand on your own feet. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m standing on my own feet.”
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While Biden has no invitation from Ryan to campaign in Ohio (although the president and Ryan did attend the official groundbreaking of a new semiconductor manufacturing plant in Ohio on September 9), the Vance campaign took issue with the display of Ryan about his differences with the president and his almost surrogate-free campaign.
“JD is proud to have the entire Republican Party unified behind him. Meanwhile, Ryan is running away from his 100% vote record with Joe Biden and leaning on left-wing Hollywood celebrities like John Legend and Paul Simon to campaign for him. Ryan’s campaign even held an event in Ohio with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of the nation’s most liberal lawmakers, but they kept it a secret,” the press secretary for the Vance campaign, Luke Schroeder.
Pointing to comments the congressman made during the primary campaign, Schroeder charged that “Ryan said he loves Nancy Pelosi and votes with her 100 percent of the time in Congress. He is her ‘future boss.’ what Ohio needs is a senator who is in the pocket of liberal elites in New York and California.
As Vance worked to unite Ohio’s Republican base after a painful primary, Ryan repeatedly highlighted his support for some of Trump’s policies.
“I agree with Trump on trade and on China… when Trump renegotiated NAFTA. I was on the Whip team in the House to get votes in support of the president’s renegotiation… I supported his defense budgets.” because we need a strong military to fight China and Russia,” Ryan said.
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Trump and Vance don’t buy it.
At his Youngstown rally, Trump accused Ryan of “pretending to be a moderate so he can get elected… He’s not a moderate. He’s a radical left.”
Vance also claimed that Ryan tries to appear moderate in his “nonstop scam TV commercials” and argued that there are “two Tims out there. A DC Tim who votes 100 percent of the time with Joe Biden, and there’s a campaign Tim who pretends to be a moderate.”
When asked to respond, Ryan noted that “he’s been very clear about it. I know it’s frustrating for JD Vance, because they want me to be Bernie Sanders or they want me to be the team and AOC and all that.” I don’t and the record is very, very clear on that.”
Ryan reiterated that he is one of the top bipartisan members of the House and vowed “I’ll be that way when I’m in the Senate.”
In addition to Trump’s support, Vance received a boost in the primary with nearly $15 million in spending from a super PAC funded by PayPal co-founder and billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Vance’s former boss. In the final stretch through November, a super PAC sided with veteran Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and doled out $28 million to back Vance.
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Ryan charged that Vance is “trying to buy this seat with Mitch McConnell’s money and a Silicon Valley billionaire’s money to get into the Senate, and it’s just not going to work.”
Ryan and his campaign have for months targeted Vance for his years living in California as a venture capitalist, labeling the Republican candidate a “San Francisco kid.”
However, Vance’s campaign has returned fire in recent days over Ryan’s trip to Los Angeles for “a high-value fundraiser with Hollywood elites.”
Ryan acknowledged that “we raised some money in California,” but stated that “that’s a stark contrast to picking up and leaving Ohio and living in San Francisco for several years, giving up Ohio, having your entire campaign financed by a Silicon Valley billionaire.” “.
“I’ve been here in Ohio with my family in public schools. My wife was a school teacher for 20 years. We’re here to fight for Ohio, not give up and I think there’s a stark contrast there so they can try to wear whatever, you know, whatever little clickbait they can get, but it’s not going to work here in Ohio. People know that,” Ryan argued.
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Democratic candidates, committees and outside groups have been highlighting the combustible issue of legalizing abortion in the three months since the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, in a blockbuster opinion, overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade, rolling back the fight for women’s reproductive rights. to the states
“I believe the abortion decision was the largest government overreach on the privacy of American citizens in the history of our lifetime. Big government breaking into doctors’ offices and bedrooms, violation of basic American values, if I they ask. I think it’s anti-American,” Ryan emphasized.
However, when asked if the Democrats were making a mistake by concentrating much of their firepower on abortion, Ryan responded, “I’m focusing on the economy. I think these basic economic issues are the ones that are on the agenda.” people’s minds. Will I fight for women to be able to make their own health care decisions. Absolutely. 1000 percent. But the vast majority of people in Ohio are struggling because of inflation, the cost of gas, the cost of food and they need help. That’s why I’m promoting a tax cut. That’s why I’m promoting manufacturing by building these jobs of the future like we’re doing here in Ohio.”
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While polls indicate a close contest, the race in Ohio may come down to the two scheduled debates between Ryan and Vance later this month.
Ryan said his mission in those matchups is “to let people see who JD Vance really is. I mean, people know me.” And he argued, “I just want to make sure they understand that this is a guy who tried to use Ohio to get a Senate seat.”