Well, the news we’ve all been waiting for in the post-election dialysis arrived today via the Plain Dealer, which quoted Josh Mandel as saying he would run for reelection as Ohio Treasurer unless, I would add, something better comes along.

Who knew? After all, despite his defeat at the hands of Sen. Sherrod Brown on Tuesday, the Cleveland-area Whiz Kid is only 35 and has the potential of least 20 more campaigns. That’s not to say that the national right-wing sponsors that clogged radio and TV stations with more that $31 million in virulent ads against Brown will still be as generous after seeing their investment wash out this time around. Nor will he still have access to his personal outlay of $12.6 million in a losing cause.

Still, Josh won’t be that chastened by ending up in the loser’s circle while he is forced to re-introduce him himself to his treasurer’s office staff. “This is not the first time in my life when I’ve been knocked on my butt and it won’t be the last time,” he told the PD. He may have gotten that right. But why would it take a night-vision camera to find him doing his treasurer’s job anywhere near his treasurer’s office these past months?

Like their vision of Secretary of State Jon Husted, Republicans have considered Mandel to be one of their “rising stars”, which they usually do with anybody under 75. Even Rob Portman, nearing age 57, is still in that mix as a first-term U.S. senator from Cincinnati even though Romney’s short list for ballot mates abruptly stopped at the line that bold-faced Rep. Paul Ryan, a Tea Party icon. It appears that for the foreseeable future, Portman will continue to serve as the perfect host of national GOP wannabe stars that visit Ohio for what little popularity Portman can transfer in shoulder-to-shoulder appearances.

Meantime, there’s still Husted, who confounded the electoral process in Ohio for many months by literally playing Monopoly politics, issuing “Do not pass go” cards to minorities and other likely Democratic voters with partisan restrictions that went nowhere in the Federal courts. Does anybody now care – as I did, vehemently – that two of the states where voting restrictions were hatched in Republican caves, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Romney lost anyway. And in the third state, Florida, Obama is ahead but the final tally has not yet been recorded. Fortunately, unlike the 2000 election, Florida doesn’t matter this year.

Having earned my paychecks covering a number of past campaigns, it seems that never before has so much time been spent by election officers trying to game the process. In short, it’s a mess. And no amount of declaring commitment to “fairness” by guys like Husted will disguise the deeper motives of partisan gain.

Unless that is fixed, no longer will pols come up with terms like “It’s the economy, stupid”. Instead, the honest version will be “It’s the process, stupid”.

By the way, the sun came up this morning.