COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan has decided against running for governor next year, leaving Ohio Democrats on a continued quest for the candidate who will lead their 2018 ticket.
The Youngstown-area congressman announced his decision Tuesday, saying that he was “truly humbled by the encouragement” to run but decided that remaining in Congress is his best way to serve the community he represents.
“Constituents in my district are at the forefront of an economic transformation that has hollowed out our nation’s middle class,” Ryan said in a statement. “As I’ve considered how best to address these challenges, the more I’ve appreciated how much they are national issues that require national solutions.”
Mahoning Valley voters have handily returned Ryan, 43, to Congress eight times. That popularity, combined with the recent rise in Ryan’s national profile after a bid to unseat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, had fueled interest in recruiting him for a gubernatorial run.
Ryan was one of the better-known potential contenders for Democrats, who hold just one statewide position — an Ohio Supreme Court seat.
Republicans, meanwhile, already have three high-profile officeholders positioning to run, as incumbent GOP Gov. John Kasich faces term limits next year. Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor may be joined in the fray by U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.
On the Democratic side, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni plans to announce his intention to run on Wednesday.
Schiavoni, who’s been traveling the state laying the groundwork, said he was waiting for Ryan’s decision before making his move. Both men are from the Mahoning Valley.
“There’s no political gamesmanship going on,” Schiavoni said. “I’ve been traveling around the state, and I’ve been telling everybody that the goal is to run for governor.” He said he’s focused on jobs, schools and safe communities.
Other potential Democratic contenders include former U.S. Reps. Betty Sutton and Dennis Kucinich, former state Sen. Nina Turner, Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill and former Attorney General Richard Cordray, who heads the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Cordray, an Obama appointee, so far remains in Washington, though the Republican-led Congress is working on ways to get him out of the job before the expiration of his term next year.
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