- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan will steer clear of President Joe Biden when Mr. Biden visits Ohio Wednesday, in a signal that party lawmakers on the ballot in November are wary of being dragged down by the increasingly unpopular president.

Mr. Ryan isn’t the only Democrat who is declining to appear with Mr. Biden. Nan Whaley, the Democratic nominee for governor in the Buckeye State, is also planning to skip the president’s appearance.

Both candidates cited scheduling conflicts.

Tim has a full day of previously-scheduled campaign events along the Ohio River,” a Ryan spokesperson told The Washington Times.

Mr. Biden will promote his economic plan Wednesday afternoon at the Max. S. Hayes High School in Cleveland. He plans to announce the start of a program that will provide $97 billion to the nation’s underfunded pensions. The money was included in a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill he signed into law last year.

Mr. Biden’s appearance in Ohio follows a new Monmouth University poll showing his approval rating has sunk nationally to 36% amid concerns over the economy and rising prices. 

Mr. Ryan, a centrist House Democrat whose district includes the city of Dayton, is running against Republican J.D. Vance in a state that has shifted increasingly to the GOP in recent years.

President Trump won Ohio, long considered a bellwether state, by eight points in 2016 and 2020.

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll of 500 likely voters taken in late May showed Mr. Vance leading Mr. Ryan by three points. They are running to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

Not every Democrat in Ohio is avoiding Mr. Biden on Wednesday. 

Reps. Shontel Brown and Marcy Kaptur, who are running in more urban districts around Cleveland and Toledo, plan to appear with Mr. Biden, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is not on the ballot this year.

The Vance campaign put out a statement criticizing Mr. Ryan for supporting Biden administration policies that critics say have contributed to soaring inflation and high gas prices. 

“Every reporter in the state should be asking Tim Ryan why he apparently refuses to be seen in public with a president he campaigned for and votes with 100% of the time,” Mr. Vance said Wednesday.

Democrats in other swing states have been dodging Mr. Biden as well. 

Earlier this year, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro did not join Mr. Biden in Pittsburgh, also citing scheduling conflicts. Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor in Georgia, declined to appear with Mr. Biden when he appeared in Atlanta earlier this year to deliver a speech on voting rights.  

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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