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Rep. Ryan endorses Biden

WARREN — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying the former vice president “is the only candidate who can win over the heartland and defeat Donald Trump.”

Ryan, a former Democratic presidential candidate who quit the race Oct. 24, announced Wednesday he was backing Biden.

A day earlier, he said he was “honing in on” an endorsement after considering a few candidates without disclosing their names. He added: “I’m looking for someone who can compete and fits with Northeast Ohio. I want someone in the White House who understands what we need for the future — and do they have a plan to plug us in.”

Biden was a logical choice for Ryan, D-Howland, as the two are considered moderate Democrats, Biden is one of the presidential frontrunners and he has praised Ryan during his numerous appearances over the years in the Mahoning Valley.

Also, two of Ryan’s political allies — former Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras and Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown — endorsed Biden Oct. 30, six days after Ryan got out of the 2020 presidential race because of his inability to raise money while lagging in polls.

“In a field of great Democrats, Biden is the candidate who can defeat Donald Trump and move our country forward,” Ryan said Wednesday. “Joe will hit the ground running and repair the damage done by Trump’s failed, reckless presidency. I plan to work tirelessly to elect Joe Biden as our next president. He is a leader who will put working communities and the middle class first.”

Greg Schultz, Biden’s campaign manager, tweeted Wednesday: “Grateful and excited that Congressman Tim Ryan is endorsing and supporting Joe Biden. He will be a huge asset. Also first former presidential candidate to endorse someone else.”

It was just a few months ago that Ryan said that Biden was “starting to struggle.”

But Wednesday he called Biden “a trusted leader who has been a champion for working communities throughout his entire career in public service,” and “a voice for the many who are being left behind — workers losing their jobs to automation, unions fighting for fair wages, small business owners trying to get ahead.”

Ryan has been more critical of the two other frontrunners: U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Ryan has said the two are “so far left” that neither could beat Trump, the Republican incumbent.

Ryan said he wants a candidate who can help grow the Brite Energy Innovators (formerly the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center) in Warren and the Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes — National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute — both in Youngstown, as well as provide assistance to the Mahoning Valley.

“We’ve laid the groundwork for the future,” he said. “It’s been piecing it together. I want someone who can put it all together as a detailed program.”

When asked about ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick considering entering the Democratic presidential race, Ryan said, “I think it’s super late to be getting in. I don’t know what they would add to the race. I’m not sure where Bloomberg or Deval would fit in.”

Ryan said the impeachment proceedings against the president will “energize the Trump base. But many people disapprove of what he did. It’s going to damage the president with moderate Republicans and independent voters. He’s got control of Republican voters, but it’s damaging to independent voters who go back and forth. If they did something equivalent of this, they’d be indicted.”

Ryan called the impeachment proceedings “a distraction. Few people want to deal with this. I want an infrastructure bill and to help our local economy. But the whole country will discuss this for however many months.”

Ryan entered the presidential race April 4. But after two poor fundraising quarters and no momentum in the polls, Ryan announced Oct. 24 he was withdrawing from the campaign and would focus on running for a 10th two-year term in the U.S. House next year.

Trouble raising money and failing to reach 1 percent in most national polls for months kept Ryan from qualifying for the Sept. 12 and Oct. 15 Democratic presidential debates. He was also not going to reach the threshold for future debates.

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