A new report from Politico outlines how Ohio Democratic Senate nominee Tim Ryan has managed to keep his race with Republican rival J.D. Vance close, despite the fact that his state is increasingly tilting red.
Although strategists interviewed in the report credit Ryan for hammering home a populist economic message as part of his stump speech, they also say his ridicule of Vance as a weak-minded Trump "ass kisser" has severely dampened the Republican's appeal.
Irene Lin, a Democratic strategist based in Ohio, said the effectiveness of Ryan's campaign in an otherwise poor political environment for Democrats shows that the party needs to "forget your woke shit, your identity politics obsession and focus on being normal."
But she also says that doesn't mean being weak in the face of Republican attacks.
"You want fighters, right?" she said. "Emasculating [Vance] is actually part of Tim’s effectiveness... They make everything into a culture war. That’s what the Republicans are good at. We’ve got to take it back."
Polls suggest Ryan is still likely to lose to Vance, although they also show that he is within two points in a state that twice voted for former President Donald Trump by significant margins.