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Ryan’s Senate bid pulls in endorsements

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan picked up the endorsements of more than 140 current and former Democratic officeholders for his U.S. Senate bid.

That includes U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, the longest current-serving woman in Congress, and former Gov. Ted Strickland.

“I’m grateful for the support of leaders in every corner of Ohio,” Ryan, D-Howland, said Tuesday.

He added: “I’m going to fight for all our communities and work with leaders across Ohio to make sure we’re growing our businesses, rebuilding our infrastructure, creating new jobs and cutting all our workers in on the deal.”

Kaptur was the only congressional Democrat on Ryan’s list Tuesday. With Marcia Fudge resigning to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the only other Democrats in Congress from Ohio, besides Ryan and Kaptur, are U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus.

Ryan has been planning to run for the Senate seat since U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, announced Jan. 25 that he wasn’t going to run next year for a third six-year term.

Ryan became the first Democrat to declare his candidacy Monday for the seat, though others — most notably Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce — are considering it.

Among his Tuesday endorsements were 13 of the Ohio House’s 35 Democratic members, including state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, and two of the eight Democrats in the state Senate.

Ryan also picked up endorsements from 15 mayors, including Youngstown’s Jamael Tito Brown, Warren’s Doug Franklin and Struthers’ Catherine Cercone Miller. Other mayors backing Ryan include Dan Horrigan of Akron, Thomas Bernabei of Canton and Wade Kapszukiewicz of Toledo.

All three Mahoning County commissioners — Anthony Traficanti, Carol Rimedio-Righetti and David Ditzler — endorsed Ryan.

The only other elected official from the Mahoning Valley on Ryan’s initial endorsement list Tuesday was Warren Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold, D-6th Ward.

After this newspaper asked about the lack of endorsements from Democrats in Ryan’s home county of Trumbull, his campaign provided one later Tuesday.

That included state Rep. Michael J. O’Brien, D-Warren; county Commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa and Frank Fuda; Auditor Adrian Biviano; Clerk of Courts Karen Allen, Prosecutor Dennis Watkins and Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz.

Cantalamessa said: “Tim has been our congressman, and he’s put the interests of working people and the people of the Valley first. He’ll be successful representing the state of Ohio.”

There were a number of endorsements from Akron, Barberton, Canton, Cuyahoga Falls, Parma, Stow and Tallmadge. The Akron endorsements make it seem unlikely that Sykes will get into the Senate race.

Many of Ryan’s endorsements came from those in and near the 13th Congressional District, which he represents and includes Mahoning, Trumbull, Portage, Summit and Stark counties.

But support also came from all three commissioners in Montgomery County as well as one each from Franklin, Hamilton and Lucas counties.

Ryan’s campaign said several more endorsements were coming.

While not on Ryan’s endorsement list, he received tweets of support from Hillary Clinton, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jamie Harrison, former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper and actress Debra Messing, who urged her nearly 700,000 followers to “join me and donate what you can” to Ryan’s campaign. Pepper also asked people to donate to Ryan’s Senate campaign.

Clinton, the failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, wrote: “Ohioans deserve a leader who will fight for them. Tim Ryan is that leader.”

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