Josh Mandel is the son of a rich corporate lawyer.  He grew up in a rich, Northeast Ohio neighborhood.  And he married into one of the richest families in Ohio.

But Josh Mandel really wants you to think he’s just a regular, working-class guy.

During his 2012 campaign for Senate, Mandel tried to earn his blue-collar credentials by appearing with also-rich-guy Mitt Romney at a rally in Beallsville, Ohio.   The backdrop seemed perfect: a bunch of hard working men in hard hats, and Mandel talking about the importance of coal and coal-related jobs.

But then Mandel, in his freshly-pressed, nicely-tailored dress shirt, jumps up on stage and kicks off his speech using his odd-sounding version of a Southern Ohio accent.  (video here)  Whatever he said after that hardly mattered.


Image from Mandel’s campaign website showing Josh at fake Murray Coal rally.

It was later revealed that the whole event was staged by Ohio’s Crazy King of Coal Bob Murray, owner of Murray Energy.  Murray shut down one of his mines for the day and required all the workers to appear at the “rally” without getting paid.

Interestingly, Josh Mandel’s new, under-construction, treasurer campaign website only contains one picture of Mandel. And it’s a picture from the fake Murray Energy rally.

Last week, Josh Mandel devised a new way to get hard-working Ohioans to appear with him for campaign photo ops:  he invented an award called “Ohio Strong” that he could personally deliver to workers at their place of employment.

Mandel then spent the week shuttling around the state on your dime, handing out awards and snapping photos of himself doing it.


Mandel at PR Machine Works Inc. (photo from Mansfield News Journal)

Interestingly, some of the companies where Mandel gave out these awards have Republican connections.   His first award last Monday was presented at Toledo Metal Spinning, a company owned by the Fankhauser family who have given thousands to Republicans like Husted and Kasich.   On Tuesday, Mandel was at PR Machine Works.  That company’s president is Republican State Rep. Mark Romanchuk.

Despite his best efforts at changing his image, Mandel is still a career politician with no blue-collar roots and no sympathy for, or understanding of the needs of Ohio’s workers.  

He grew up the son of a corporate lawyer who makes his living denying compensation to workers who received terrible, debilitating, life-altering injuries on the job.   And, as the Ohio Democratic Party has pointed out, his record on Ohio’s workers and Ohio jobs is lousy:  Mandel opposed the auto bailout that saved Ohio jobs, Mandel believes Ohio should become a so-call Right-to-Work state, and Mandel supported SB5 even after voters defeated it.

Josh Mandel has no working-class credibility, and a couple of staged photo ops showing him handing out awards to hard working Ohioans isn’t going to change that.