Ohio treasurer takes step toward bid for U.S. Senate

4/9/2011
BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Democrats blasted Josh Mandel's move. He promised a full term as Ohio treasurer in his campaign.
Democrats blasted Josh Mandel's move. He promised a full term as Ohio treasurer in his campaign.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican, has taken a significant step toward launching a bid for the U.S. Senate, establishing a U.S. senatorial campaign committee with the Federal Elections Commission.

The committee Citizens for Josh Mandel and the name of a treasurer were filed on Wednesday, said a clerk in the office of the Secretary of the Senate. It showed up Friday on the Federal Election Commission's Web site.

Though he has formed a Senate campaign committee, Mr. Mandel was remaining officially undecided about running for the seat now held by Sherrod Brown, a Democrat.

"He felt this was the right thing to do, to take a more serious look at it," said Anthony Conchel, a political spokesman. "What we've said before is he's flattered by the tremendous support but right now, he wants to continue as state treasurer and do a great job."

Mr. Mandel, 33, is a former state legislator from Lyndhurst, a Cleveland suburb. He defeated appointed Democratic incumbent Kevin Boyce last year to become treasurer.

The Ohio Democratic Party has circulated a video clip of Mr. Mandel saying during the campaign that he intended to serve his full term. In the clip, made in October, Mr. Mandel is seen telling an interviewer that he "definitely wants to be elected and serve for at least the full four years."

"Ohioans are still waiting for Josh Mandel to explain to them why he's going back on a campaign promise he made just a few months ago to serve a full term," Ohio Democratic Party Press Secretary Justin Barasky said. "If Mandel's personal political ambition is more important to him than doing the job he was both elected and promised to do, then he should come clean with Ohio voters and say so."

The Mandel campaign didn't respond yesterday directly to the video.

Mr. Conchel said, "Frankly Senator Brown's lack of leadership in Washington and his voting against the best interests of Ohioans has caused Josh to consider the strong encouragement that he's been getting. The filing of the campaign committee simply allows Josh to take a more serious look."

Mr. Mandel is one of a few Republicans who are said to be considering the race, including Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and former Republican state Sen. Kevin Coughlin of Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County.

Contract Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.