Democratic rival joins Ryan in Senate race
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan will have an opponent in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat with Morgan Harper, a policy and advocacy director for an economic equality organization, saying she is seeking the position.
“I’m entering the race for U.S. Senate because everything is on the line right now,” said Harper of Columbus. “We need a new game plan that is going to engage the key constituents that are going to vote — black people, young people, women — across the state to let them know we have a choice in this election.”
Until Harper’s announcement, Ryan, D-Howland, was the only Democrat running for the office.
A political progressive, Harper ran last year for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat, which includes most of the city of Columbus, losing the Democratic primary to incumbent U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty.
Beatty endorsed Ryan for Senate last week and is chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
In last year’s primary, Beatty beat Harper 68.1 percent to 31.9 percent.
Regarding that race, Harper said: “We were able to bring a lot of people in who felt politics didn’t speak to them or represent them.”
She added: “People responded to that because folks are sick of business as usual and politics that benefits insiders and the rest of us getting left behind.”
Asked about Ryan, Harper said: “I’m not a political insider, and so I’m really focused on trying to meet and connect with people directly.”
She said she wouldn’t take money from corporate political action committees, which Ryan accepts.
Ryan’s “been in office for a couple of decades, and I come from more of a community-based background,” Harper said.
She added: “I’m a new fresh voice. I’m not a career politician.”
Ryan’s campaign didn’t comment on Harper’s entry into the race.
Izzi Levy, his campaign spokeswoman, said: “From now through the end of November, Tim will be taking his relentless focus on workers to every corner of Ohio, building on the momentum he’s already earned and continuing to win the support of Ohioans.”
Harper works as the policy and advocacy director for the American Economic Liberties Project, which advocates against corporate monopolies and in support of the enforcement of antitrust regulations.
“I’ve been spending the past year taking on multinational monopolies and fundamentally, I think that’s what the people of Ohio are looking for: someone who is going to stand up to corporate powerful interests to protect them and back them up,” she said.
Harper said she’s taking a leave of absence from the nonprofit organization to concentrate on the Senate bid.
She is also the founder of Columbus Stand Up, which provided face masks to people during the early stages of the pandemic and has moved on to giving rides to vaccine clinics to those in need.
She previously worked for the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and at the Local Initiatives Support Corp., an affordable housing organization.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, announced Jan. 25 that he wouldn’t seek a third six-year term next year.
There are six declared Republican candidates for the seat with others considering it.