Since 2012 when Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel lost his first go at unseating U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, he’s been the odds-on favorite to take another run at the task in 2018.
(Plunderbund commented recently on Mandel’s faux concern for transparency, when operating in the dark is what he’d rather do to keep his dealings from prying public eyes.)
In office, Mandel has focused his time and attention on gearing up for another run at Brown, his duties coming second to his political ambition for a campaign full of twists, turns and potholes.
In the wake of Donald Trump winning by such a hefty margin last year over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Mandel wants to win the next poker hand with Brown by playing some of the same cards Trump played.
Trump swayed enough Buckeye voters on hot button topics like race, religion and economics to clobber Clinton by nearly nine percentage points or more than 446,000 votes. Not close, not by a country mile.
Mandel’s recent Twitter jihad against Islam is an alignment causing some in Ohio’s Republican establishment to “fret” about Mandel’s chances to do to Brown next year what Trump did to Clinton last year.
Josh Kraushaar at National Journal observes some forces bearing down on the ilk of Republicans Mandel belongs to. And with Mandel tweeting hate for Islam of late, Ohio Democrats have seen a better target, while Democrats in other states are also seeing heaven instead of hell in the 2018 election cycle.
One fellow Republican who acts more like a foe than friend to Mandel is central Ohio U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who took over Gov. John Kasich’s old seat in Washington in 2000 when Kasich first ran for president, a dream that still remains a dream.
Last year, Kasich didn’t receive Mandel’s endorsement for president in the GOP primary race for the White House, an endorsement that Mandel gave to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio instead.
Tiberi, whose name was floated as a possible challenge to Brown, mugged Mandel by first refusing to endorse him, then second by reminding Mandel – a former Marine with multiple tours in Iraq – that losing to Brown in 2012 is enough baggage to cloud his second chance of defeating Brown.
Meanwhile, Brown is shining in the Trump era, having staked his third term on knowing the heart and soul of the average working Ohioan and fighting for them.
Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jake Strassberger didn’t miss the flak Mandel is taking from Tiberi and others.
“Even in deciding to forgo a senate bid, Pat Tiberi became the latest in a long line of Ohio Republicans to go out of their way to openly question Josh’s record and ability to mount a credible campaign,” Strassberger said. “While we’re confident that Sherrod Brown would have defeated Tiberi in a general election, we agree with him on one point: Josh Mandel has a ton of ‘baggage.’”
A recent tweet from @JoshMandelOhio read: “Again in the name of Islam. Clear pattern. Clear problem. #ReligionOfPeace” In the tweet, Mandel links to Britain First’s Paul Golding, who has a dicey history hanging over him back home.
Britain First leader Golding — a British nationalist politician and convicted criminal — is slammed for posting ‘video of Muslims in London rejoicing at the Paris attacks’ which was actually a Pakistani cricket celebration from 2009.
Some journalists describe Golding as the leader of a “fascist paramilitary groups,” so Mandel linking to Golding’s video is all we really need to size up Ohio’s treasurer as a Trump true believer.
The National Journal’s Kraushaar says that while Democrats are defending 10 seats in states that Trump won, candidates like Mandel are souring the endgame of winning those seats.
“The environment is really bad for Republicans right now, and that will weigh heavily for anyone considering any race,” he writes. “The one thing that Republicans can control is the quality of their candidates and quality of campaigns being run. Right now, neither are adequate.”
As Mandel pursues his tunnel vision based on what worked for Trump last year in Ohio, he’s finding the going getting tougher as Democrats focus their guns on his xenophobia on matters of religion. Thus, one-time Republican love turns to jilted love lost.