Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan waves off support from AOC in his Ohio Senate bid: 'It's not a helpful endorsement here'
- Rep. Tim Ryan told NBC News that AOC's support of his Ohio Senate campaign wasn't "helpful."
- The progressive lawmaker quickly became a magnet for GOP attacks after she entered politics.
Rep. Tim Ryan, a veteran House Democrat, has served alongside fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez since she joined the lower chamber in 2019.
However, Ryan, who is locked in a tough Senate race against Republican J.D. Vance in red-trending Ohio, is not thrilled about the show of support that he received from the progressive New York lawmaker.
Ryan, who since 2003 has represented a congressional district anchored in northeastern Ohio, has barnstormed the state campaigning in areas that have not been friendly to Democrats in years — hoping to cobble together a coalition of traditional base voters while also attracting those who may be exasperated by standard politicians.
And the pledge of support from the liberal star wasn't something that Ryan was looking for, according to NBC News.
"It's not a helpful endorsement here," the congressman told the news network. "Nor did I seek it."
After the Supreme Court struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision — which legalized abortion in the United States and afforded a constitutional right to the procedure — Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram last month that voters needed to vote for Ryan this fall, along with Senate candidates John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin.
"We CAN do more to pursue these items more aggressively. And THEN once we do, we can secure the W and turnout the vote for [Fetterman] in PA, [Barnes] in WI, and [Ryan] in OH this November," she wrote at the time.
For much of his congressional career, Ryan opposed abortion, citing the beliefs of his Catholic faith.
But in 2015, Ryan publicly reversed course and expressed his support for abortion rights, a position that he further embraced after the high court's recent ruling on the procedure, which he called "the largest case of government overreach in my lifetime."
"By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court is gutting a long-established right in order to put politicians between women and their doctors," he said in a statement at the time.
Ryan has called for abolishing the filibuster to codify Roe into law, a position that Ocasio-Cortez had gotten behind even before the court overturned Roe.
However, Ryan is still seeking to put some distance between himself and Washington Democrats as he seeks to win over voters in a state that has become difficult for the party — in a year where Republicans are poised to make major gains in Congress.
During an interview on Fox News earlier this week, Ryan wouldn't say whether he'd back President Joe Biden's expected reelection bid in 2024.
"I'm working on my own election and that's all I'm focused on right now," he said.
"We've got a little under four months here in Ohio and we're running a great campaign. We're up in the polls and working really hard. So I'm just going to focus on that, and we can chat about that after I win and get in the United States Senate," he added.
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