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Editorial: Indecent exposure

Akron Beacon Journal – The National Republican Senatorial Committee already had shared a link. On Wednesday, during a radio talk show appearance, Josh Mandel added his own voice, raising the matter of Sherrod Brown’s nasty divorce 26 years ago. Mandel wants to unseat Brown in the U.S. Senate. He has revealed, again, that he will say or do almost anything he sees necessary to succeed, showing little sense of decency in doing so.

Mandel called Brown “a real hypocrite when it comes to issues in respect to domestic violence and women’s issues,” adding: “You can probably read about that all over the Internet.” What can be found? The records from Brown’s 1986 divorce, his former wife stating that “he [Brown] has struck and bullied me … completely destroyed my peace of mind.” Mandel sees an opening to revisit the records because of Brown’s support for renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

No question, the renewal has become a political battleground. An opportunity to launch such an egregious line of attack?

The dark jab has been thrown in the past. In 1992, Margaret Mueller swung at Brown in a race for the U.S. House. She was cudgeled for the attack, and deservedly so. No one was more powerful in criticism than Larke Recchie, Brown’s former wife, who explained what many people already know: “Divorce can often be an unfriendly ordeal,” hers with Brown “no exception,” involving “a lot of hurt on both sides, and it led only to angry words.”

That should have been the end of the discussion, divorce ripe for unfortunate acts and words, both sides entitled to privacy, even when the records are public. Know that Recchie has been an ardent supporter of Brown’s political career the past two decades. She held a fundraiser over the weekend.

Six years ago, Mike DeWine faced a tough and successful challenge from Brown. DeWine chose against taking this road. Not Mandel.

The additional trouble is, this is a part of a pattern. In capturing the state treasurer’s office two years ago, Mandel unleashed an ugly ad that played to public fears, suggesting his opponent was a Muslim and linked to terrorists. Mandel has hurled wild accusations against Brown, many deemed “false” or “pants on fire” by Politifact. He then asserted he would keep trading in untruths.

The neglect has extended to his job, failing to attend Board of Deposit meetings, hiring ill-prepared cronies, departing from his intent to serve a full term. He even has eschewed the need to take positions on matters before the Senate. What, voters might deserve to know?

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