So here’s an interesting fact for you: Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was 2 years old when Ken Blackwell was elected Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Despite the very large age difference, it seems quite possible that the two Ohio politicians could be facing each other in a primary battle next fall.

Blackwell and Mandel have a lot in common. Both started out as somewhat liberal and ended up on the far-right side of politics. Both serve/served as Ohio Treasurer. Both never seem satisfied with their current job. And both have expressed interest in running for Sherrod Brown’s Senate in 2012.

While Josh Mandel has officially announced his intention to run, despite his promise to serve out his term as Treasurer, Blackwell has been less forthcoming with his plans.

According to a piece in Roll Call today, Blackwell has decided to officially announce that he is “actively considering” a run:

Encouraged by recent polls that show him leading the GOP field, Blackwell told Roll Call this week that he is still actively considering a bid against Brown — but it will be several weeks until he makes any kind of formal announcement about his intentions.

Brian and I discussed the possibility of an actual Blackwell run today and he seems convinced that Ken is simply trying to drum up buzz for his soon-to-be-released new book.

An article in today’s Enquirer seems to somewhat support that theory:

Blackwell, 63, told the Enquirer that he’s barred from making any announcement about running for U.S. Senate because of his work for several nonprofit groups and an agreement with the publisher of his fourth book “Resurgent” – until after its release in late May.

It’s hard to deny that free publicity is a very likely option here. No major news outlet is going to give Blackwell free air time to discuss the latest book he coauthored with religious nut Ken Klukowski. But Ken might get some attention if he pretends to run for office again. Free press is free press. And pretending to run for office could certainly provide an opportunity to plug his book at a very low cost.

While I certainly wouldn’t put this type of ploy past Ken Blackwell, I also know that Ken is one of those politicians with a huge ego, so I’m going to have to politely disagree with Brian on this one and predict that Ken Blackwell WILL announce he is running for Senate as soon as he is contractually allowed to.

And another part of the article seems to support my theory. The Enquirer quotes Blackwell as having told “Mandel he needed to serve more time as a statewide officeholder.”

“I reminded young Josh what the word ‘service’ means,” Blackwell said.

The elder statesman giving a warning to the young up-and-comer? I could certainly be wrong here, but man I hope I’m not.

With Ken Blackwell’s ultra-conservative, ultra-religious, homophobic nuttiness in the mix, the 2012 Republican Senate Primary in Ohio will be one non-stop disaster – and that spells good news Senator Brown.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if Ken Blackwell officially forms a campaign, I will be one of his first contributors.