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Government/Politics

Ohio U.S. Senate race heating up with union endorsements for Ryan

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Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Howland) meets Mike Knisely, executive secretary and treasurer of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, as he arrives for a press conference at the Ohio Ironworkers Local 172 training facility in Columbus. The council voted to endorse Ryan for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat.

The Democratic candidate for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat has received the endorsement of a union group that has a record of endorsing Republicans as well.

The Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council is made up of 14 local member councils and more than 100,000 workers.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Howland) said this endorsement reflects the work he’s been doing with unions for over two decades — which is in contrast to his opponent, Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance.

“The last thing we need in the United States Senate now is another millionaire venture capitalist who doesn’t understand what working class people are going through," Ryan said, not referring to Vance by name but referencing his past work in venture capital in several states, including Ohio.

This is the building trades council’s first statewide candidate endorsement. In 2020, the Ohio Building Trades endorsed Joe Biden, but 6 of the 11 Ohio members of Congress they backed are Republicans, and they endorsed both Republicans running for the Ohio Supreme Court.

With union membership in Ohio down 44% since 1990, labor endorsements may not carry the weight they used to. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there are still almost 600,000 Ohioans who are represented by unions.

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