Ohio: Can Former Marine Topple Sherrod Brown?

Lefty Senator Sherrod Brown still holds a slim lead in most polls on his Ohio reelection chances, but Josh Mandel has the momentum. Mandel is a conservative former Marine, state rep and is in his first term as state treasurer.

Mandel presents quite a contrast with his opponent. I ask him how he characterizes his politics. “I’m a full-spectrum conservative with blue-collar roots and Marine Corps values.” On one side of his family, his grandfather survived Auschwitz and his grandmother was hidden by “righteous Gentiles” in Italy. On the other side, his grandfather served in the Army Air Corps. None of his grandparents went to college. One of his grandfathers worked in a brass factory. He says, “They instilled a duty to serve and a duty to country,” along with “an old-school work ethic.”

Mandel has his work cut out for him in the Senate battle. But he won’t be out-hustled. In his 2006 race (in a district that was 2 to 1 Democratic), he “knocked on 19,671 doors and wore out three pairs of shoes.”

Ohio is too big to allow a candidate to knock on every door, but if Mandel can keep the focus on the Obama-Brown economic policies, he should be in good shape.

As he put it, “I would love to have [the president] come into eastern Ohio and explain why the government is shutting down coal plants.”

A Rasmussen poll released Wednesday shows the race tied at 43%.