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Hillary Clinton urges Northeast Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan to run for US Senate

Ryan is one of several potential contenders to replace the retiring Rob Portman.

CLEVELAND — Rep. Tim Ryan hasn't decided yet if he'll run for Rob Portman's soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat in 2022, but if he does, he might've already secured a major endorsement.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton threw her support behind Ryan's possible Senate bid Saturday morning, doing so by quoting a tweet from Kathy DiCristofaro of the Ohio Democratic Party. DiCristofaro, who chairs the Dems' women's caucus, said the state "needs" people like Ryan who "fight for working people," and Clinton wholeheartedly agreed.

The Northeast Ohio congressman Ryan later responded to Clinton with a tweet of his own, thanking her for her "support and friendship."

Ryan has slowly risen through the Democratic Party ranks over the last few years, challenging Nancy Pelosi for the party's House leader in 2017 before running for president in the 2020 election while painting himself as a champion for working class voters. He dropped out for the primaries and instead successfully ran for a 10th term in the House, although his 52%-45% margin over former Republican State Rep. Christina Hagan was the smallest of his career.

As one of the most visible Democrats in Ohio, Ryan has been speculated as a potential successor to Portman ever since the latter announced his impending retirement this week. Ryan confirmed he is "looking seriously" at running, potentially making him part of a Democratic field that could include the likes of former Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

Clinton is no stranger to the Senate herself, having spent eight years representing New York after a two-term stint as first lady during the presidency of her husband Bill Clinton. She subsequently served four years as U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama before earning the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, where she ultimately lost to Donald Trump.

Republicans rumored to be considering running to succeed Portman include U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson and former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. Rep. Jim Jordan and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted have already ruled out Senate bids.