Last week wasn’t the first time Josh Mandel has been in West Central Ohio seeking campaign donations from wealthy Republicans. It was, however, the first time he arrived with a heavyweight such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at his side.
Clearly, the national Republican Party has hung a target on the back of Sherrod Brown, the state’s longtime U.S. senator and ultra-liberal Democrat.
Mandel has been obsessed with building the war chest that will be needed to defeat someone like Brown. His campaign team also has done a good job of positioning Mandel to be the “anointed one” among Republicans.
We question, however, if Mandel is indeed the Republican most capable of pulling the Senate seat out from underneath Brown.
Candidates who represent the far right or far left are the darlings of the elite in their respective parties. However, when it comes to getting business done in Washington, seldom are they able to deliver results. What they have been responsible for is the political polarization the public is growing to hate. Brown is vulnerable because of his role in creating this gridlock, but it may take more of a centrist Republican to remove him from office.
Mandel also brings baggage.
He’s often criticized for being the state’s campaigner-in-chief, a political animal who is in perennial campaign mode 24/7, 365 days a week. Mandel submitted a financial disclosure statement that revealed every work trip he took last year as the state treasurer was in some part related to politics, including his campaign bid for U.S. Senate.
Was any of that illegal? Not at all.
Did it stretch the limit of what the average voter would think is appropriate? There’s not a doubt in our minds.
Mandel lost the race against Brown in 2012. It’s unclear how Republicans think he can change his fortune in 2018.