COLUMBUS, Ohio — U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Niles) received a warm welcome Sunday, in a room full of people sharing his view of who should be president.

“On Saint Paddy’s Day, we’re going to deliver the next Irish president of the United States,” he told a laughing room in Columbus. 

  • He spoke with supporters in Columbus just a week before Ohio's primary
  • He said he's concerned about a Bernie Sanders candidacy
  • Rep. Mary Lightbody is also campaigning for Biden

While Ryan had a festive sense of humor with Ohio’s primary, he got serious with supporters of the former vice president — especially with the coronavirus concerning some across the Buckeye State. 

“The coronavirus issue is just illustrating for us why you need a president of the United States that is capable, that is mature, that is kind,” Ryan said.

And with Joe Biden heading to the Buckeye State this week, he won’t be alone. His opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, will also be rallying for Ohio votes.

“Are you concerned about a Bernie Sanders candidacy at the top of this party’s ticket?” Ryan was asked.

“I would be very, very concerned about it. I just think running as a socialist and trying to hold the House of Representatives or potentially win back the Senate, I mean, people in Ohio are not socialist. We believe that the government should be active and helpful, but that’s a bridge too far for a lot of us, and we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Ryan said.

And Ryan’s not the only elected leader throwing support behind Biden. Representative Mary Lightbody, of District 19, will be campaigning for him as well. She says Biden gives Democrats the best chance of winning at all levels of office.

“I know that Ohio is far more blue than people seem to give it credit for. We’ve got a lot of outstanding Democrats across the state, all of whom are likely to throw support behind Mr. Biden because he’s more likely to help us in this state and to help our country,” Lightbody said. 

The former vice president plans on making campaign stops in Columbus and Cleveland on Tuesday.