The Potentially Troubled Candidacy of Josh Mandel

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The Potentially Troubled Candidacy of Josh Mandel

Dayton Political Buzz Examiner – Ohio Republicans nominated Josh Mandel to run for the state’s US Senate seat against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown. Today, the Columbus Dispatch reported that federal attorneys are investigating campaign contributions made to Mandel and a Republican Congressman.

The investigation is the latest in what could be a number of problems for Mandel, the current state treasurer.

According to the Dispatch, the US attorney’s office in Cleveland asked Mandel’s and Rep. Jim Renacci’s campaigns for records of contributions from Canton-based marking firm Suarez Corporation Industries. The Toledo Blade had previously reported that the company’s employees donated more than $100,000 to Mandel’s senate campaign. Many of the employees gave the maximum allowed under federal law, some of whom had “never given to any federal campaign,” making many of the contributions “questionable.”

In February, Ohio Democrats filed a complaint with the FEC (Federal Election Commission) alleging that Mandel had improperly used cash from his state campaign fund to pay for his US Senate campaign. Specifically, the Democrats alleged that Mandel used his state war chest to make trips to Utah, New York, and Washington, D.C. During those trips, Mandel received contributions to his senate campaign from those respective areas. To date, nothing concrete has come of the allegations, but they will likely come up again as November approaches.

Meanwhile, Mandel’s opponent, Sherrod Brown, continues to operate “above the fray,” largely staying out of the headlines and avoiding controversy. Given that incumbents are difficult to beat in the first place, Mandel could be in trouble if any of the Democrats’ numerous allegations gains any traction with voters. At this point, it’s not clear whether 2012 will be a Democratic year (as in 2006 and 2008) or a Republican year (2010). It is possible that the rising tide of one party or the other will deliver the senate seat to either Mandel or keep Brown in it.

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