Ryan Reports $2.9M Haul for Senate Race in Q4

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan raised $2.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2021 for his race for U.S. Senate, his campaign reported.

The quarterly total set a new off-year record for a Senate candidate in Ohio, according to the news release announcing the number. The campaign also reported that it has $5 million cash on hand to start the year. 

Last year, the campaign reported that Ryan, D-13 Ohio, raised nearly $2.3 million during the second quarter of 2021 and $2.5 million during the third. 

“They’re solid numbers,” Paul Sracic, chairman of Youngstown state University’s department of politics and international relations, said of Ryan’s fourth-quarter fundraising. 

Ryan’s campaign said 97% of the fourth-quarter contributions were $100 or less, and more than 26,000 individuals were first-time donors to Ryan. 

“We’re proud to be entering 2022 with historic grassroots support from people in all 88 counties,” campaign spokeswoman Izzi Levy said in the release. “Ohioans know how important this year’s election is, which is why they’re coming together to support Tim Ryan in this critical race. From now through November, we’ll keep working to earn every last vote to flip this seat so that Tim can take his fight for working people all the way to the U.S. Senate.”

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, Ryan has the backing of much of the state’s Democratic Party establishment and party activists, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, in his bid to succeed U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati area Republican who is not seeking reelection. More than two dozen labor unions and the Ohio AFL-CIO, as well as nearly 250 state and local elected officials, have endorsed him.

Had Portman, who will finish his second term this year, decided to run again he “might have walked to reelection,” YSU’s Sracic said. With an open seat, there is always a chance it will change parties, even though Ohio has become a more Republican state. Republicans hold most statewide elected offices and the state’s electoral votes went to Donald Trump in both his 2016 election as president and in his unsuccessful 2020 bid for reelection.  

Among the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the seat are former state treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party chairwoman Jane Timken, “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance and businessmen Michael Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. 

In comparison to the more than $20 million Republicans seeking the open Senate seat raised during the third quarter – the GOP campaigns haven’t released fourth-quarter numbers yet – Ryan’s total “doesn’t look very big,” Sracic acknowledged. 

The “huge advantage” Ryan has is while he has a challenger in consumer protection attorney and community organizer Morgan Harper, who has gotten good national press – she has been dubbed the “Midwest AOC” – her campaign hasn’t taken off, he continued. As a result, he might not have to spend much of the money he is raising to win the nomination.  

“That will serve him well for the November election because everybody realizes this is going to be a tremendously expensive Senate race in Ohio, probably record-setting, in part because control of the U.S. Senate may rest on what happens in Ohio,” he said. “Nobody thinks either party is going to run away with control of the Senate.”

Despite the state’s GOP tilt, the possibility remains of an “implosion” within the party “with this really hard-fought primary among Republicans that don’t seem to like each other much,” he said. Issues raised during the primary campaign could become fodder for Democrats. 

One of the main issues among candidates is how strongly they support Trump, he said. If, for example, Gibbons and Mandel can convince Republicans that Vance is not really a Trump supporter and tamp down his support among working class voters, that could provide an opportunity Ryan among those voters. 

Even so, there is so much anger among Republicans at President Joe Biden that they will turn out for “whoever has an ‘R’ after their name,” he added. 

Pictured: This stock image of U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan was taken during a rally in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.