Tim Ryan Won’t Run for Ohio Governor in 2018

After months of flirting with the idea, Rep. Tim Ryan told Ohio Democrats he would not be entering the race to succeed term-limited Governor John Kasich:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Tim Ryan, whose national profile has risen in recent months, announced Tuesday that he will not be a candidate for Ohio governor in 2018.

The eight-term congressman wrestled with a run for months, weighing the risk of jumping into a potentially crowded and unpredictable primary against sticking with a safe House seat.

“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 emailed after word about his decision first trickled out to cleveland.com. “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.

“That is why, while I have been truly humbled by the encouragement I’ve received to run for Governor of Ohio, I believe the best way to serve my community, my state and my country is to remain in the United States Congress.

Ryan’s decision was made easier by the plum committee assignments he maintained despite his unsuccessful bid to unseat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last fall. In his Tuesday statement, he asserted that spots on the Appropriations Committee and Defense Subcommittee will help him “fight back against wrong-headed policies and champion the kinds of solutions that would have a real impact for American families.”

With Ryan’s decision to not enter the race, the Democratic field is wide open. According to cleveland.com’s Henry Gomez, the potential field of candidates includes:

  • Ohio Senate minority leader Joe Schiavoni
  • Former Rep. Betty Sutton
  • Former Rep. Connie Pillich
  • Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
  • Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams
  • Former Sen. Nina Turner
  • Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • CFPB Director Richard Cordray

While the race for an open governor’s mansion in Columbus is ongoing, at the same time Sen. Sherrod Brown will be running for reelection in the same cycle. Depending on the political climate in 18 months from now, that could be a boost for Democrats up and down the Ohio ballot.

Tim Ryan Considering Run for Ohio Governor

Coming off his failed attempt at toppling Nancy Pelosi in the House Democratic leadership, Rep. Tim Ryan (R-Ohio) is flirting with possibility of running for governor of his home state in 2018 when the seat will be vacant because of term limits on incumbent Republican governor John Kasich.  According to Politico:

“Everyone says ‘He never runs … he flirts,’” he said at the Capitol on Thursday. “Well, you know, we got slaughtered in 2010 when the speaker wanted me to be lieutenant governor with [Ted] Strickland and then they wanted me to run for Senate last time. I was glad I didn’t do any of that.”

A decision about 2018 will similarly be based on his gut — and the economy under a Donald Trump presidency and Republican rule in Ohio.

“That’s the gamble everyone has to try to make,” he said. “Evaluate and try to anticipate as best you can and then once you decide to go, you just go, run hard.”

Ryan says he’s been getting recruitment calls and texts since his failed effort to oust Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic House leader, a bid that his detractors argued was about positioning himself for higher office in Ohio. He declined to give a timeframe for a decision — “I don’t want to put myself in a box,” he said — but suggested he’d “step away from everything for a couple weeks” and then reevaluate.

Other rumored Democrats interested in running to succeed Kasich include Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Richard Cordray, the director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who may be out of a job in a few weeks after the new administration takes office, former state representative Connie Pillich, former congresswoman Betty Sutton, and former state senator Joe Schiavoni.

On the Republican side, the Columbus Dispatch points out that all six Republicans elected to statewide executive office are term-limited out of their current jobs. Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor are all said to have aspirations for the governorship.