NEW YORK — Rep. Tim Ryan announced Thursday that he’s running for president.
In an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Ryan spoke about how plant closures in Ohio shaped his life and said it was time for the federal government to do something.
“I am going to run for President of the United States,” he said.
The televised announcement came just minutes after Ryan’s campaign website went live and touted Ryan’s working class roots.
“As a congressman from Youngstown, Ohio for almost 20 years, I’ve watched the American Dream slip through the fingers of many Americans,” Ryan says on the website. “That’s why I am running for President. It’s time to do something.”
Ryan will officially kick off his campaign with a rally in Youngstown on Saturday, according to a Ryan spokeswoman.
Ryan, who has served in Congress since 2003, began considering a 2020 bid in 2018, as he traveled across the country stumping for Democrats running for office and, indirectly, testing the waters on a presidential bid.
Ryan enters the presidential race as a longshot candidate with less name recognition than most candidates and a far smaller political network. The field is also already sizable and growing: Democrats are waiting on former Vice President Joe Biden to decide on a run, along with former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.
Ryan said he wasn’t concerned about being tagged a more moderate Democrat during the 2020 race, arguing that he is both progressive and can win over working class voters who have drifted away from the party.
“I am a progressive who knows how to talk to working class people, and I know how to get elected in working class districts because at the end of the day, the progressive agenda is what is best for working families,” Ryan said on “The View.”
He added: “I am just going to be myself, I am going to be for the things I have always been for. And I think most progressives are going to see that.”
Ryan has become most known in Democratic circles for his opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her leadership positions. But those efforts have failed, and even Ryan voted for Pelosi earlier this year when Democrats picked their next House leader after taking back the chamber in 2018.
Ryan told CNN in February that he was “seriously considering” a presidential run, but that he didn’t “feel any pressure for any timeline at this point.”
“The country is divided,” he added. “We can’t get anything done because of these huge divisions that we have.”
Ryan, according to advisers close to him, plans to run as the Democrats’ best hope for winning back white, working class voters who left the party in 2016. The likelihood of a Ryan run increased earlier this year when Sen. Sherrod Brown, a better-known Ohio Democrat, declined to run for President.
Ryan made this case on “The View,” telling the hosts that he believes he could beat Trump in Ohio and other states with large white, working class voters.
If Democrats win those states, Ryan said, “That means Donald Trump is going back to Mar-a-Lago full time.”
Ryan told CNN in 2018 that he felt a pull between challenging Pelosi, which he didn’t do, and vying for a chance to take on Trump.
“The speaker thing is obviously a narrower universe,” he said. “But I do well with the public. I do well with voters. I enjoy it. I enjoy learning from them and getting to know them. And I have always been that kind of person. It is part of my personality.”