Politics

Ryan Campaigns in Iowa, Preps for CNN Town Hall

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan will make six stops in Iowa Friday and Saturday ahead of his nationally televised town hall on CNN Sunday night. 

The Iowa swing and the CNN appearance come as Ryan and other candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination for president face newly tightened requirements to qualify for debates later this year. 

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, has qualified for the first two debates by polling at at least 1% in several recent polls. To qualify for the September and October debates, candidates must register at least 2% in each of four separate national or early state polls and raise funds from 130,000 unique donors, up from 65,000-donor threshold from the early debates Candidates must also have 400 unique donors across at least 20 states, up from 200. 

“He’s not there yet,” said Michael Zetts, Tim Ryan for America communications director. He declined to be more specific about the candidate’s fundraising but said the campaign is “seeing a lot of support.”

According to Real Clear Politics, recent polls show Ryan, who declared his candidacy in early April, at 1% or below. Former Vice President Joe Biden has led the field in polls since declaring his candidacy with an average of 18.4%. 

CNN has hosted the town halls with more than a dozen seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination so far, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 

Ryan’s town hall will be one of three the network hosts Sunday night. Prior to Ryan’s 7 p.m. event, CNN will host a town hall with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, as well as U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California following Ryan.    

The network source described Ryan as a “serious candidate” who rose from serving in the Ohio Senate to his current post in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“Sunday night is very important” to Ryan, Zetts said. “It’s a nationally televised town hall and he’ll get to deliver his message to the American people.”

More than 100 likely primary voters from Georgia will attend the forum, a CNN source said on background. The network works closely with the state Democratic Party, local civic organizations and universities and colleges to recruit a diverse group of people who say they plan to participate in the state’s Democratic primary March 3, 2020. 

CNN hosts the events “because substantive conversations with presidential candidates inform and empower voters to make the best possible choices for their families and communities,” according to the network contact.

“CNN understands the importance of a vibrant democracy and these town halls have proven to be a key addition to the 2020 presidential primary process,” the source said. 

Candidates are specifically asking to participate in the town halls because they understand that voters are interested in learning more about their policy proposals and the candidates see this as an international soapbox to spread their respective messages. 

Though he is out campaigning Friday and Saturday, Ryan is also focused on the town hall and is brushing up on policy, Zetts said. “He’s been at this for a long time and he’s been responding directly to voters, and Sunday night will be no different,” he said.  

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.