Republican Tim Ryan likely to win Senate nomination

Republican Tim Ryan likely to win Senate nomination

The Democratic nomination for the Senate in Ohio is projected to be won by Rep. Tim Ryan.

Ryan, a 10 term House member who ran for president in 2020, fended off two lesser-known primary challengers, Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson.

In November he will face the winner of what was a more crowded and expensive Republican primary. The race was a priority for former President Donald Trump, who twice won Ohio by 8 percentage points, with his endorsement by Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. The winner of the general election will be Sen. Rob Portman is a Republican who isn't seeking a third term.

Ryan, 48, is giving up the Youngstown-area congressional seat he has held for nearly 20 years. His district had been more conservative, and Ryan's politics have often been viewed as moderate over the years. He had been anti-abortion rights until 2015, and in his 2020 presidential bid he campaigned against progressive ideas like Medicare for All. His positions are often informed by his working-class constituents in a region that has bled manufacturing jobs since the decline of Big Steel and the closing of a General Motors plant.

Harper, a former attorney for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ran to Ryan's left in the primary, emphasizing her support for abortion rights and calling for an expanded Supreme Court. Ryan stuck with his comparatively moderate approach to his tone, airing TV ads that hit themes that would sound more at home in a GOP primary.

His first ad, focused solely on China, blamed the country for the loss of U.S. jobs and drew condemnation from Asian American groups that found the commercial inflammatory. His second ad railed against inflation and took aim at both political parties before ending with the phrase Americans first - an echo, intentional or not, of Trump's America First slogan.

Ohio has become a more reliable state for Republicans since it twice backed Barack Obama for president. Portman was re-elected in 2016 by 21 points. The only Democrat with sustained electoral success in the state, Sherrod Brown, was re-elected by 7 points in 2018. But Ryan, whose blue-collar message is similar to Brown, was a top recruit for Democrats and national Republicans, and has signaled that the general election will be a key race this fall.