Is Tim Ryan gaining momentum in race for U.S. Senate?
For a state leaning more republican in each election cycle since 2016, recent polling is showing democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Ryan may have some momentum against his republican challenger J.D. Vance.
An Impact Research poll, which was requested by the Ryan campaign, shows him with a two point lead. An online survey conducted by Center Street PAC, which backs Ryan's campaign, shows Ryan holding a 9 point lead. Other polls show Vance with a two point lead.
"I do think this is going to be a closer race than people expect because some people see J.D. Vance further to the right on the political spectrum whereas Tim Ryan is trying to appeal to more moderate voters," said Haley BeMiller, who covers politics for the USA Today Network. "I think you are going to see some folks maybe voting a little bit differently than you normally expect."
It's not just the polling numbers, but financial numbers appear to be leaning Ryan's way. The campaign announced Friday Ryan gained nearly 90,000 new donors and raised $9.1 million in the second quarter.
"That is a bananas amount of money," BeMiller said. "I imagine it's record setting. He is really trying to push this sort of grass roots idea with his campaign. It will be interesting to see when the filings come out you know. It seems like a lot of the donations if not most were from Ohio, curious to see if he's getting some out of state support."
But does more money mean more votes?
"It certainly helps get your message out there but I think at the end of the day people are going to vote their conscious, they are going to vote what they believe," BeMiller said. "The money may help educate voters to some degree with commercials and that kind of thing but I don't think that determines an election by any stretch."
Ryan has also spent a lot of money, flooding the airwaves with television ads, whereas Vance has yet spend any TV dollars. BeMiller says it could give Ryan an edge now, but she expects Vance to capitalize closer to election time.
"I think he's probably taking a bit of a breather after a pretty insane primary race," she said. "You do see him at events, you do see him traveling around the state some. I think he is saving the resources he has for the Fall when he knows folks will be paying more attention this time of year. It's Summer, people are on vacation, people tend to get politics'd out this time of year and I think he knows that. Ryan might be getting some extra attention right now but there are still a lot of people who won't tune in quite yet."
Another advantage Ryan may have, is a united democratic party behind him. In the primary, despite the Trump endorsement, Vance only pulled in about a third of the GOP vote. While Vance understands he has work to do uniting voters, BeMiller says the current conditions in the country could work in his favor.
"I think ultimately republican voters, their frustration with President Biden's administration, their frustration over the economy and inflation, I think that is going to take precedence over almost anything so there may be some people who defect who don't vote for Vance who still can't get past it but I think a lot of republicans are going to see him as the better option than Tim Ryan."
Either way, there is still a lot of time between now and November 8th and BeMiller says anything can happen.
"I think there are going to be a lot of twists and turns, I do think Vance has an advantage but at the same time I think if any democrat can pull this off, Tim Ryan probably checks all the boxes that the party needs this year."