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Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Who is Tim Ryan and why is he rocking the Democrat's boat?


Nancy Pelosi keeps her job as minority leader in the House

Since 2006, Nancy Pelosi has led House Democrats, but after the party failed to take over the majority of seats in Congress in the 2016 election, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan decided to shake things up and throw his name into the hat. 

Losing the majority

Over the last eighteen years, Democrats have only held a majority in the House of Representatives twice and the 2016 election saw even more losses for the party. 

But just weeks before the election, Pelosi predicted Democrats would sweep the election and gain more than 20 seats in the House because Donald Trump was the "gift that keeps on giving."

Changing the formula

In announcing his run for Minority Leader, Ryan said without a change in House leadership, the party would continue to lose elections. 

In a letter to lawmakers announcing his candidacy, Ryan maintained that running for leadership was never his ambition,  but said, "after this election I believe we all need to re-evaluate our roles within the Caucus, the Democratic Party, and our country."  

Who is Tim Ryan? 

So who is this guy that's challenging Pelosi for the first time since 2010? Ryan, 43, has been representing the 13th district of Ohio since 2003, and he's become a bit of a rising star. 

He was the youngest Democrat on the Hill when he was first elected in 2002, and just won reelection for his eighth consecutive term. 

He's half-Irish, half-Italian, was raised by a single mother and is a devout Catholic. 

Blue-collar support

Ryan hails from the manufacturing town of Youngstown, Ohio, which could give  him a lot of sway with blue-collar swing voters who drove President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans to victory this November. 

He also heads the House Manufacturing Caucus and his economic agenda emphasizes the needs for improvements for industrial workers in the Rust Belt. 

Should Tim Ryan be the next House Minority Leader?

Progressive on reproductive rights?

Ryan says he considers himself a progressive, but up until last year he maintained an anti-abortion platform. 

He voted in favor of the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the Affordable Care Act. The amendment prohibited the use of federal money "to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion."

Pelosi is a money-making machine

Ryan could struggle to convince House Democrats to turn on Pelosi who has been a money-making machine for them. 

In the last three months before the election, Pelosi raised about $35 million for Democrats, while Ryan has never raised more than $1.4 million in a two-year cycle. 

Michael Zetts, a spokesman for Ryan, told The Hill that Ryan contributed "more than a quarter of a million dollars" to Democrats while he campaigned for Hillary Clinton. 

Support for Ryan

Some House Democrats have already voiced their support for Ryan. 

Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter on Monday told the Denver Post that Ryan "would be good in terms of talking to some people who feel the Democratic party hasn’t listened to them enough.”

New York Rep. Kathleen Rice endorsed Ryan in a statement on Sunday saying he is "focused on the future of our party and our caucus." 

Who is Tim Ryan and why is he rocking the Democrat's boat?

Pelosi in power

Pelosi says she is confident that she will retain her position.

"Without even asking anybody for a vote, I have over two-thirds of the caucus supporting me," she said Thursday.

Reforming House leadership 

Zetts told Circa that Ryan spent the weekend making calls to colleagues and is continuing to build support in the Caucus before the Nov. 30 leadership election. 

On Sunday, Ryan announced a list of reforms for the Caucus, including breaking up the steering committee to make way for a new policy office that would serve as an "idea factory."

Ryan also said he would step down if he were to lose of more than two-thirds of the Caucus. 

Run for governor?

It's going to be a very tough race for Ryan, and it's unlikely that he will sway a large enough majority to oust Pelosi, but it all could be a publicity stunt for Ryan to gain more recognition ahead of a possible run for governor.

When asked if he would run for governor if he lost the leadership vote, Ryan told the Washington Post he had "no idea" but that "people are calling me to do it." 

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