NBC News: Tim Ryan “Outraises, Outspends and Outworks” JD Vance, Gains Attention With “Post-Partisan Populist” Message

Recent reporting from NBC News’ Henry Gomez contrasts JD Vance’s non-existent campaign that is causing “frustrations” among Ohio Republicans with Tim Ryan’s “post-partisan populist” message. 

While Tim has been campaigning in every corner of the state, smashing fundraising records, and investing heavily in getting his message out across Ohio, JD Vance has spent much of his summer hiding from voters and sending Ohio Republicans into a “freakout” over his “lazy” fundraising and “concerning” lack of a campaign.

This is the second story this week highlighting the “‘widespread trend’ that Republicans officials are hearing in their networks about Ryan’s crossover appeal. People who are Republicans are saying, ‘that Tim Ryan guy, he’s alright, I like the way he sounds,'” according to the Daily Beast.

Read highlights from NBC News

  • A once largely unimaginable scenario has been rattling around Ohio’s political scene all summer. Can Rep. Tim Ryan pull off an upset in the state’s U.S. Senate race?
  • The Democrat is airing ads on Fox News, talking incessantly about China and promising to put “Americans first” in a state where former President Donald Trump won by healthy margins. His Republican opponent, “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance, has Trump’s endorsement but is facing criticism that he’s coasting while Ryan outraises, outspends and outworks him. 
  • Although independent polling has been scarce, some local GOP leaders believe that the general election is too close for comfort and have had trouble concealing their frustrations. “They are burning bridges faster than they can build them,” one Republican operative in the state, who requested anonymity to be frank, said of Vance’s campaign.
  • ​​Ryan, meanwhile, is presenting himself as a post-partisan populist —as someone a voter might mistake for a Republican. 
  • “Conservatives aren’t wrong about everything,” Ryan told NBC News in an interview this week after touring a business incubator inside an old rubber factory in downtown Akron. “Democrats aren’t right about everything.”
  • Ryan’s GOP-friendly message has caught attention, to the point where Vance can’t make fundraising calls without hearing about it. “I actually spoke to a donor yesterday who told me that he thought Tim Ryan was running in the Republican primary,” Vance said in a telephone interview. “And he was confused because he thought the Republicans’ primary was over.”
  • Vance went mostly quiet after winning that contest, a messy and expensive battle in which his pro-Trump credentials were heavily scrutinized. Ryan, who easily beat two lesser-known candidates for his party’s nomination, has spent more than $7.5 million on advertising since then, according to AdImpact, a media tracking firm. Over the same time, Vance and an aligned super PAC bankrolled by tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel have spent only $132,000 combined. 
  • “But I think most Democrats here, especially in those southern counties, are excited that they have a candidate that they can actually put a yard sign up and wear a T-shirt for and be proud to go to the county fair and say, ‘Tim Ryan’s my guy’ — and to not have every independent or Republican think that they’re insane,” Ryan said.
  • “Trump is still a very animating figure here,” Scioto County Democratic Party Chair Collin Docterman said. “You’re talking to the Democratic Party chair of a county that went for J.D. Vance in the nominating process overwhelmingly. That being said, Tim Ryan does seem to be working very hard to resonate with the core people that have drifted away.”
  • Pressed on his loyalty to Biden this week, Ryan, who skipped the president’s recent event in Ohio, offered two points of disagreement. He’s upset that the president is overlooking potential trade violations and prohibiting tariffs on Chinese solar panel manufacturers. And he said he is “frustrated that we have not passed a tax cut.”
  • One veteran Republican strategist in Ohio who didn’t support Vance in the primary wondered if he was relying on Trump to carry him again in the general election. “If Trump comes in for two rallies, it’s locked up,” said the strategist, who is unsure about voting for Vance this fall and requested anonymity to speak candidly. “Ryan is doing a decent job of getting out there. The question I have is: Will the Democrats be able to muster intensity and turnout for a candidate who is not espousing the progressive party line?”