Democrat Ryan distances himself from national party in tight Ohio Senate race

By Shawna Mizelle, CNNUpdated: Thu, 03 Nov 2022 13:49:48 GMTSource: CNNOhio Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan on Thursday said he doesn't want help from his own national party, telling "C

By Shawna Mizelle, CNN

Updated: Thu, 03 Nov 2022 13:49:48 GMT

Source: CNN

Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan on Thursday said he doesn't want help from his own national party, telling "CNN This Morning" that he doesn't "really want them at this point."

"You know, the national Democratic Party has never been really good at strategic political decisions. So you know, it is not a surprise here, and thank God that I have enough experience that I've built this campaign not needing them and we really don't want them at this point. We're gonna do this thing with all the grassroots people we have here," said Ryan, who is pitted against J.D. Vance, a Donald Trump ally, in a tight race.

The comments from Ryan underscore his efforts to cast himself as a more moderate candidate and distance himself from the national Democratic Party, including President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings are sagging. With the midterms just around the corner, Biden and former President Barack Obama have descended upon states that have critical elections, but neither has turned up in Ohio.

Ryan is in a unique position as a Democrat in Ohio, a former bellwether state that has increasingly trended toward Republicans in recent years. In 2020, Biden became the first candidate in the last 60 years to win the White House without winning the state.

"If they don't recognize that we got a real shot to win this thing and we're going to shock the world, then that's on them, not on me," Ryan told CNN.

Ryan has made courting Republican voters an integral part of his campaign in an effort to win. He has touted himself as a centrist Democrat on the campaign trail noting that while he took on Trump, he also stood by him on trade, the creation of the Space Force and combating China.

He has also run ads criticizing his own party, suggested Biden shouldn't run for reelection, done a town hall with Fox News and -- in acknowledgment of Ohio's recent rightward shift -- stressed the need for Democrats to win over Trump voters.

"People are tired of the hate, tired of the anger, tired of the fear, tired of the division, but you need leaders who can go into an environment like a Fox News town hall, as a Democrat, and say 'Look, we've got to love each other. We need to care about each other. We need forgiveness, we need reconciliation.' ... It starts by leaders going into those environments and saying, 'I understand you have concerns let's talk about them,'" Ryan said Thursday.

He added that he believes he has been able to garner some Republican support by talking about issues constituents care about like manufacturing and the natural gas industry.

"We have so many two-time Trump voters who are not for the insurrectionists and aren't for all the craziness and insanity. But they are voting for me because I am talking about the pocket book issues that they care about," he said.