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Ohio’s hot Senate race — profiling Josh Mandel

State Treasurer Joshua A. Mandel has challenged incumbent Sherrod Brown for an important Senate seat in Ohio. A Mandel victory would assure all Ohio business owners a solid representation in Washington. Mandel’s plans aim to lower taxes on businesses, repeal the huge medical taxes of Obamacare those taxes finance, and stimulate private sector economic growth and employment.

Mandel was born in and grew-up in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs, attended the public schools, and was the high school quarterback. He graduated from The Ohio State University (OSU) with a B.A. in communications. He continued at Case Western Reserve University law school, where he earned his JD degree. He has enjoyed politics since college and served two terms as OSU’s student body president. He is married and has no children so far.

Mandel enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves and was first in his Marine Corps class in boot camp (basic training) at infamous Paris Island. He was also first in his intelligence training class. Mandel served two tours in Iraq (more below). Following each tour, he was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He received those for “superior performance of his duties,” which were basically combat intelligence for armor and infantry units. When I met him on two occasions, albeit briefly, he appeared very fit. With that model posture, he could easily have been the poster Marine seen in recruiting ads, in the movies, or in the USMC color guard.

Following his first tour in Iraq, Mandel ran for councilman in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst. He served there three years and did succeed in getting a small rollback in homeowner property taxes. Then he ran for state representative, literally campaigning door-to-door. He reportedly knocked on over 19,000 doors. Running as a Republican in a district that is 2:1 Democratic, Mandel won and was re-elected with over 70 percent of the vote.

Mandel’s Marine unit was recalled to Iraq while he served in the state legislature. Mandel might have been able to avoid his second tour of duty in Iraq, as he was a sitting member of the Ohio General assembly. Instead, he immediately "answered the call" and served in combat zones (there are no front lines in the traditional sense), so he was in danger much of the time. When he returned, and walked in prepared for business as usual, the entire Ohio House greeted him with a standing ovation. Such is the camaraderie political peers can have for each other despite sharp differences on issues and philosophical opinions. Unfortunately it is short-lived in both Columbus and especially in Washington.

In 2010, Mandel was elected state treasurer by almost 55 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Kevin Boyce. His over two million votes in 2010, was more than any of the other Republicans running for statewide office. All the statewide offices were up for re-election that year, including Ohio’s other U.S. Senate seat, which was won by Rob Portman, a Republican from Cincinnati. All the Republicans won, but Mandel had the most votes and the biggest margin of victory. All together, Mandel has been an elected official for eight years, and served eight years in the Marines, on active duty and reserves.

Mandel’s early campaign to unseat Brown focused on Mandel’s accomplishments, especially as State Treasurer, and his kind of hero status due to his Marine Corp service. Mandel’s predecessor in the Treasury was in the center of scandal, and Ohio was ridden with debt. The Strickland administration had left Ohio with less than a dollar in its rainy day fund, and Ohio’s economy had suffered a steady decline. Under Gov. Kasich, Ohio has tasted a turnaround, and Mandel has played an important role in state’s recovery. I did not read, see, or hear any attack ads. In fact, Brown was never mentioned even by inference. The ads were about Mandel and his merits.

In mid 2012, Brown or his PACs hammered Mandel with their advertising. Without putting either too fine a point on it or using the many apropos expletives, the Mandel vs. Brown race changed very quickly. Perhaps the change can best be described in that old-fashioned expression...it stinks! And now the Ohio Senate race has become every bit as dirty as the presidential race.

Much of the biographical materials is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Mandel

One final note...It strikes me that neither candidate has any meaningful business or other private sector experience. Sorry! Serving on boards, committees, etc. doesn't count. In fact, the closest either seems to have had to with the hard knocks of the real world is Mandel's combat experience. While that is certainly not the same thing as building a business, it does help "build men."

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