In this Sept. 7, 2019, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks during the New Hampshire state Democratic Party convention in Manchester, New Hampshire. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who as presidential candidate pitched himself as best positioned to talk to working-class people and take back Rust Belt states from President Donald Trump, offered his endorsement Wednesday to Joe Biden.

“I think this election for many, many Democrats, regardless of where you live, is about who can beat Donald Trump, and the key to that is who can beat Donald Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin and western Pennsylvania, in Ohio, and I’m convinced that’s Joe Biden,” Ryan said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Ryan said that while there are many good candidates remaining in the Democratic presidential field, he considers the former vice president to be “the person who has … the touch with blue-collar workers that we have to have if we’re going to beat Donald Trump, which is the goal here.”

Ryan announced late last month that he was ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and would instead run for a ninth term in the House.

Ryan had failed to qualify for the third and fourth Democratic debates and faced a Dec. 11 deadline to file to run for reelection in his Ohio district.

His endorsement of Biden is the first by a previous Democratic contender.

In September, Ryan spoke disparagingly of Biden in a phone call with a reporter, later saying he did not realize he was speaking to a reporter and thought he was seeking donations for his campaign.

“I just think Biden is declining,” Ryan said of his then-rival. “I don’t think he has the energy. You see it almost daily. And I love the guy.”