Ryan Confirms Possible Interest in Senate Bid

Posted January 12, 2009 at 1:48pm

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) publicly confirmed his interest Monday in running for the seat currently occupied by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), who announced his retirement earlier in the day.

In addition to congratulating Voinovich on his tenure of public service in Ohio, Ryan said in a statement that he would consider running for the seat.

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee I am in a very good position to help create and expand important economic development initiatives in the State of Ohio,” Ryan said. “That said, if I can have a greater impact by being in the Senate, I will certainly consider it.”

For statewide officeholders, Democrats could look first to Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D), who said Monday that he would comment on a possible Senate bid at a later date.

“I respect and admire Sen. Voinovich’s long and very distinguished record of public service, and I’ll have more to say on a possible run for the U.S. Senate at a later time,” Fisher said.

Democratic Reps. Zack Space and Betty Sutton are also said to be interested in running, though neither office responded to requests for comment Monday. Space, in particular, has become close to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) since he was elected to office in 2006, according to a source with knowledge of their relationship.

For the Republicans, speculation surrounded former Rep. Rob Portman (R), who stepped down from his 2nd district seat to be U.S. trade representative and eventually director of the Office of Management and Budget. Portman is close to Voinovich, even fundraising for the Senator’s re-election campaign last year.

If Portman declines, Republicans could look to former Sen. Mike DeWine (Ohio) to run. An Ohio Republican source said, however, that DeWine is looking to run for attorney general in 2010.

In a phone interview Monday, DeWine declined to comment on his own political plans and instead congratulated Voinovich.

“I’m not going to talk about that today,” DeWine said. “This is George Voinovich’s day.”