Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan jumped into the 2020 presidential race on Thursday, portraying himself as a candidate who can bridge Democrats' progressive and working class wings to win the White House, the AP reports. Ryan, 45, announced his primary bid on ABC's The View. He plans a kickoff rally on Saturday in downtown Youngstown, where a big turnout by organized labor is expected. Ryan is the 17th Democrat to officially enter the race, per ABC. The congressman resisted being labeled a political centrist by the talk show's hosts, who pointed out that he's a recreational hunter with past backing from the National Rifle Association. In 2015, he reversed his past opposition to abortion in favor of abortion rights.
"I'm a progressive who knows how to talk to working class people, and I know how to get elected in working class districts, because, at the end of the day, the progressive agenda is what's best for working families," Ryan said. During an unsuccessful bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader in 2016, Ryan criticized the party for supporting leadership that represents the US coasts at the expense of the middle of the country. Ryan represents the district formerly held by the late Democratic Rep. Jim Traficant, for whom he worked. The blue collar area swung strongly for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Bringing those voters back into the fold will be critical in 2020, said Mahoning County Democratic Chairman David Betras. Per Larry Sabato, the previous record for number of Democratic presidential candidates was 13 in 1976; the record for Republican presidential candidates is the 17 who ran in 2016.
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