Breaking: Presidential hopeful Tim Ryan coming to Grand Rapids

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan | Wikimedia Commons

Another presidential contender is heading to Michigan, with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) slated to headline a Kent County Democrats’ fundraiser next month.

Ryan was announced as the keynote speaker for the 2019 Spring Gala on May 4 before he declared for president, county party Chair Gary Stark told the Advance on Thursday.

Gary Stark

“He’s always been a strong voice for blue-collar workers and organized labor, which will clearly be issues in Michigan this next election year,” Stark said. “We’re anxious to hear his message about how the Democratic Party can help the working people of Michigan.”

The Kent County Democrats are not endorsing any presidential candidate.

The congressman joins a stampede of candidates heading to the Mitten State. President Donald Trump kicked off his 2020 campaign last month in Grand Rapids. A slew of Democratic contenders also have dropped by Michigan: former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), businessman Andrew Yang and former U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.).

Next month, U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are slated to be in Michigan.

Ryan, who announced his presidential candidacy on April 4, has served in Congress since 2003 representing the Youngstown area.

Trump in Grand Rapids
President Donald Trump at the Van Andel Arena on March 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. | Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

“I could win Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin; rebuild the blue wall; and take out Trump,” Ryan told Time in an interview last week. “I don’t want it to be just about beating Trump. It’s got to be about totally forging a new politics in the country that realigns things. It’s got to happen.”

Ryan is perhaps best known for unsuccessfully challenging now-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2016 when Democrats were still in the minority, following Trump’s election. He initially was part of a group fighting her speakership in 2018, but dropped his opposition.

The fundraiser is scheduled at 6 p.m. at the Eberhard Center at Grand Valley State University. It’s the county party’s major fundraiser of the year.

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Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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