Senator Brown outduels Mandel

Ohio incumbent’s victory helps Dems retain majority

11/7/2012
BY JIM PROVANCE AND KRIS TURNER
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
Sen. Sherrod Brown is hugged by his daughter, Liz,  as they celebrate his re-election Tuesday night. Mr. Brown called his victory a triumph for the middle class.
Sen. Sherrod Brown is hugged by his daughter, Liz, as they celebrate his re-election Tuesday night. Mr. Brown called his victory a triumph for the middle class.

COLUMBUS — U.S. Sen. Sher­rod Brown beat back a bit­ter, ex­tremely ex­pen­sive cam­paign to oust him, a scene re­peated in a num­ber of states Tues­day night as Re­pub­li­cans were de­nied con­trol of the up­per cham­ber of Con­gress.

Josh Mandel, a rap­idly ris­ing star in GOP cir­cles af­ter cap­tur­ing the Ohio Trea­surer’s of­fice in his first state­wide run in 2010, came up short de­spite tens of mil­lions spent by out-of-state, third-party en­ti­ties to boost his name and trounce the un­abash­edly lib­eral Demo­cratic in­cum­bent.

Republican senate candidate Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel slides his ballot into a scanner after voteing in Beachwood, Ohio Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Mandel is challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Republican senate candidate Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel slides his ballot into a scanner after voteing in Beachwood, Ohio Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Mandel is challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

The Brown cam­paign es­ti­mated spend­ing against the sen­a­tor at about $40 mil­lion.

With 88 per­cent of the un­of­fi­cial vote re­ported, Mr. Brown had 50 per­cent to Mr. Mandel’s 45 per­cent and in­de­pen­dent Scott Ru­pert's 5 per­cent.

“To­day in Ohio, in the mid­dle of Amer­ica, the mid­dle class won — again,” Mr. Brown, his voice even raspier than nor­mal, told the crowd in his vic­tory speech at the Ohio Demo­cratic Party cel­e­bra­tion in Co­lum­bus.

“We fought back against se­cre­tive out-of-state forces that wanted to im­pose their will upon our great state, but that’s noth­ing new,” he said. “Citi­zens United might be a new name dressed up in an ex­pen­sive 21st cen­tury suit, but it’s an old story where a few peo­ple, a few very, very rich peo­ple, wanted to rig the sys­tem for them­selves.”

His voice was so hoarse that he had to turn the mi­cro­phone over to his wife, Con­nie Schultz, who read the rest of his speech.

She said the race was about the re­sur­gence of Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing, spe­cif­i­cally men­tion­ing Jeep and the fact that it is built in Toledo, an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney’s ads sug­gest­ing that pro­duc­tion could be moved to China.

Be­fore yield­ing the mi­cro­phone, Mr. Brown said the mid­dle-class is not just about eco­nom­ics.

“It’s the val­ues we share, the prin­ci­ples we be­lieve in, the op­por­tu­ni­ties we cre­ate for our chil­dren, the hard work we do ev­ery­day,” he said. “It’s the busi­nesses we build.”

In con­ced­ing the race at the Re­pub­li­can gath­er­ing nearby, Mr. Mandel said he couldn’t think of any­thing more he could have done.

"I’m proud of the ef­fort we put forth, and I be­lieve we put forth ev­ery­thing we could in sweat, honor, and in­teg­rity,” he said. “I’d also like to tell ev­ery­one here that this isn’t the end of the fight. This is the be­gin­ning of the fight.”

Mr. Mandel said his cam­paign fo­cused on is­sues that mat­ter to fam­i­lies and peo­ple hop­ing for eco­nomic re­cov­ery across Ohio.

“Those is­sues won’t fade un­less changes are made across the state and the coun­try,” he said. “We be­lieved in some­thing greater than our own self-in­ter­est and we be­lieved in is­sues that af­fect reg­u­lar fam­i­lies around this state.”

Ohio­ans chose to send Mr. Brown, 59, a for­mer north­east Ohio con­gress­man and Ohio sec­re­tary of state, back to Wash­ing­ton for a sec­ond six-year term, de­spite Mr. Mandel’s ar­gu­ment that the only way to change Wash­ing­ton was to change who vot­ers send there.

“Many Dem­o­crats looked at Ohio as some­thing of a fire­wall, that if ev­ery­thing else went wrong they would hold that 51st or 52nd seat….,” said John Green, di­rec­tor of the Univer­sity of Akron’s Ray C. Bliss In­sti­tute for Ap­plied Pol­i­tics. “But the race turned out to be a lot more com­pet­i­tive than an­tic­i­pated. Given the na­ture of the pres­i­den­tial in Ohio, the Senate race was likely to get closer as we got closer to Elec­tion Day. This wasn’t go­ing to be a land­slide.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, along with volunteer Shirley Sherman, calls campaign workers on Tuesday to thank them for their service at a campaign office in Columbus.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, along with volunteer Shirley Sherman, calls campaign workers on Tuesday to thank them for their service at a campaign office in Columbus.

Mr. Mandel, 35, is a for­mer Marine re­serv­ist who served two tours of duty in Iraq while si­mul­ta­ne­ously serv­ing in the Ohio House. He will now turn his at­ten­tion back to the state trea­surer’s job that vot­ers elected him to in 2010.

He por­trayed Mr. Brown as sid­ing too of­ten with Pres­i­dent Obama, cast a de­cid­ing vote for the Pres­i­dent’s con­tro­ver­sial health-care law, and whose pol­i­cies led to in­creased na­tional debt. Mr. Mandel la­beled his op­po­nent “the bail­out sen­a­tor” for his sup­port of the tax­payer bail­out of the auto in­dus­try and trou­bled banks.

Mr. Brown and his sup­port­ers coun­tered by ac­cus­ing Mr. Mandel of shirk­ing his du­ties as a newly elected trea­surer to run for the Senate and sur­ren­der­ing his right to think for him­self by sign­ing an anti-tax pledge.

Re­pub­li­can Gov. John Ka­sich con­grat­u­lated Mr. Brown while prais­ing Mr. Mandel.

“Ohio and the na­tion are fac­ing some very tough prob­lems on the def­i­cit, the debt and the econ­omy, and it’s my hope that we can stand down from par­ti­san con­flict and be­gin work­ing to­gether so we can tear down the bar­ri­ers to growth that are hold­ing Ohio and the coun­try back,” he said.

Con­tact Jim Pro­vance at:

jpro­vance@the­blade.com

or 614-221-0496.