Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Who is Tim Ryan? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate
Julianna Rennie
By Julianna Rennie June 24, 2019


Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan says he’s running for president because the economy is not working and the American Dream is out of reach. It’s a familiar message in his blue collar district, which includes 45,000 people who voted for both him and President Donald Trump. To win the White House, he believes he can appeal to Rust Belt voters and the Democratic Party’s young and nonwhite base. 

When Ryan was elected to the House of Representatives at 27 years old, he was pro-life and a member of the National Rifle Association. After eight terms in office, he has adopted more socially liberal stances and even donated $20,000 he had received in NRA contributions to gun control groups. He has sponsored legislation on issues including education, veterans affairs, and manufacturing. Ryan also regularly opposes free trade agreements and criticizes China’s trade practices, which he says have cost Ohio 100,000 jobs. 

Like Trump, Ryan is promising to revitalize midwestern economies. Instead of bringing back the coal and steel industries, his vision centers on green technology — specifically wind, solar, and electric vehicles. The business-friendly Ohioan has distanced himself from aspects of the Democrats’ Green New Deal. "I’m a reform-minded Democrat that believes if we’re going to green the economy, you need the innovation and the power of the free market to do that," he told ABC’s The View.

After sweeping Democratic losses in the 2016 election, Ryan challenged Nancy Pelosi as party leader in the House of Representatives. He argued that Democrats needed to reunite the party with a strong economic message that would resonate with the working class. Though his bid was unsuccessful, he continues to push progressive policies like Medicare for All and criminal justice reform while focusing on the economy. "A quiet revolution is happening in this country. One that is driven by compassion and the independent spirit our nation is known for," his campaign website says. "It’s time for us to invest in our values so we can focus on what really matters: healing and uniting our nation."

Name: Tim Ryan

Current occupation: U.S. representative for northeastern Ohio 

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003

Key positions: voted for the Stupak Amendment to reduce federal funding for abortions, but now identifies as pro-choice; voted against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and opposes NAFTA; supported the Iran Nuclear Deal; voted against Donald Trump’s and George W. Bush’s tax cuts 

State and local offices: member of the Ohio Senate

Private sector work: none

Military: none

Books authored: "A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit," 2013; "The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm," 2015

Education: B.A. in political science from Bowling Green State University, J.D. from University of New Hampshire

Birth date: July 16, 1973

Personal life: Spouse is Andrea Zetts, three children

Religion: Catholic

Top issues: Jobs and the economy, affordable health care, public education

Miscellaneous: Ryan practices yoga and daily meditation. He hosts bipartisan meditation sessions for members of Congress and their staffs.

Other coverage: candidacy on ABC, April 2019; CNN interview, April 2019; profile in the Atlantic, March 2019; profile in Politico Magazine, September 2018

Campaign website:

This report will be updated as the campaign continues.

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Julianna Rennie

Who is Tim Ryan? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate