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Ryan unhappy losing Trumbull

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan faced his toughest challenger ever in this election and ended up losing his home county of Trumbull by 1.2 percent to Republican Christina Hagan.

But Ryan, D-Howland, won his 10th two-year term by 7.5 percent in the five-county district, according to unofficial results Tuesday.

That’s because he beat Hagan in Summit, the largest county in the district, by 14.4 percent; and in Mahoning, the district’s third-most populous county, by 13.9 percent.

Ryan’s defeat in Trumbull County was by 1,075 votes.

“I’m not happy about it, but when you lose your state rep, state senator and county commissioner, it’s difficult,” Ryan said. “It was a tough, tough year in the area for Democrats.”

Also, President Donald Trump won Trumbull County by 10.38 percent and Mahoning by 1.94 percent.

Hagan, of Marlboro Township, said: “While our effort fell short, I believe this campaign was successful in giving voters a true alternative voice and principle vision for this district.”

It shows a continued decline in support for Ryan in the district and that he is vulnerable when the state redistricts congressional lines for the 2022 election, said Bill Binning, retired chairman of the Youngstown State University political science department.

“His numbers are pretty weak,” Binning said. “I think he’s weakening. The district is changing. It’s not just Ryan overstaying his welcome or not producing in the district. Maybe he’s not meeting the expectation of voters, but Trump winning both Mahoning and Trumbull shows (Ryan’s) days are numbered.”

Ryan won by 2.7 percent in Portage County and lost by 18.2 percent in Stark County. But Portage had 40,001 total voters in this election and Stark, Hagan’s home county, had a mere 10,324 so they played little role in the outcome. In comparison, Summit had 99,256 voters, Trumbull had 88,223 and Mahoning had 85,164 in this election.

“When the district was created 10 years ago, it was one of the most Democratic in the state,” Binning said. “Now it’s attractive to ambitious Republicans as a pickup. Hagan is just the beginning. Ryan is on ground he’s never stood on before. It was a Democratic district and now it’s a competitive district and Republicans will compete there and try to get the seat. Sooner or later, it’s going to catch up to him.”

Also, Ohio is likely to lose a congressional district next year because its population hasn’t grown at the level of other states so Republicans, who control Ohio, may look to pit Ryan against a sitting Republican incumbent in a district that leans toward its political party, Binning said.

The 7.5 percent victory is Ryan’s smallest.

Ryan won by 45.6 percent in 2012, 37 percent in 2014, 35.5 percent in 2016 and 22 percent in 2018.

Asking about his declining numbers, Ryan acknowledged concern, but said: “We have got to get the Democratic Party in line talking about economic issues. That’s what I do and that’s what saved me. If I didn’t have that record to run on,” he would have lost.

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