Sherrod Brown’s Reelection Campaign Under Attack
Brown’s political background in the State is well documented; he served in the Ohio Statehouse in the late ‘70s into the ‘80s, he was a house representative for more than a decade, and he defeated incumbent Senator Mike DeWine in 2006, riding a wave of anti-Bush sentiment. Brown has fairly been given a reputation for being one of the more progressive members of the Senate, championing government programs such as Medicare and social security.
The political pundits initially thought that Elizabeth Warren would be the main target of the cycle for conservative political action committees because of her anti-Wall Street agenda as the creator of the consumer protection agency and her staunch progressive positions on various issues. In somewhat of an upset, it turns out so far that Brown is the man, who has seen almost 3 million dollars spent against him in Ohio already.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the biggest out-of-state spender, dropping $1.5 million so far. The next-highest donation comes from 60 Plus Association with around $730,000, and crossroads GPS, the PAC associated with Karl Rove, has given a hair over $500,000. It is an unprecedented level of spending that is unique to politics because of the creation of post-Super PAC politics.
Corporations and outside groups can now stay unaffiliated with any campaign but spend buckets of unidentified money in any way they would like. That is the beauty of the new system; you can spend money and not have the money traced back to any particular candidate. So far, this phenomenon has been utilized by both parties, but Brown’s position as the most heavily targeted senator this cycle is bringing him unwanted attention.
The question is why Brown , who is polling double digits ahead of State Treasurer Josh Mandel, Brown’s presumptive challenger in November.
“Josh Mandel’s candidacy has been riddled with legal and ethical violations and a refusal to stand up for Ohio’s middle class,” said Justin Barasky who is the Press Secretary for the Ohio Democratic Party. “D.C. Republicans and their special interest friends know that Ohio is key to taking over the Senate and they’re worried by Mandel’s less-than-inspiring start.”
“The influx of cash in Ohio to distort Sherrod Brown’s record is the special interests attempt to prop up Mandel’s failed candidacy and the race will be very close as a result of all the special interest spending,” he added.
Josh Mandel’s campaign chose to not comment for this story, but what Barasky is referring to is Mandel’s shaky start to their campaign. The campaign was grilled for being slow to release their financial records last year, and now the ODP wants Josh Mandel to release his schedule after skipping out on Ohio events to fundraise outside the state.
Mandel does pose a problem to Brown, who is being targeted by Republican groups as a guaranteed “yes” vote for President Obama. The prominent conservative blog Red State cited that Sherrod Brown has voted with the president 98 percent of his votes. In a year where Obama has consistently been in the mid-40 approval, that could be a potent attack.
Barasky thinks there will be a clear contrast between the two candidates in November.
“This race will be a clear choice between two very different agendas,” he said. “On one hand you have Sherrod Brown who fights every day to keep jobs in Ohio and strengthen our middle class, and on the other hand you have Josh Mandel who has repeatedly shown there’s only one job that he’s willing to fight for, and that’s his next one.”
To go along with the outside money, Mandel has been labeled a prodigious fundraiser by party insiders. It was expected that the 34-year-old would at least get challenged, but as of now Mandel looks like the man who will take on Brown in November. Mandel already has over $3 million cash on hand, with close to $4 million already coming into the campaign. This puts Mandel in a very strong position heading into the year, despite the poor polling numbers thus far.
Barasky made it clear that Sherrod Brown was ready to run in Ohio on his record.
“Sherrod Brown fights everyday for Ohio jobs and for the issues important to Ohio’s middle class,” he said. “One way to stop jobs from leaving Ohio would be for the House to pass Sen. Brown’s bill that cracks down on Chinese currency manipulation, a major source of Ohio’s job loss over the years.”
“Josh Mandel refuses to stand up against this job killing practice even though it has bipartisan support from fellow Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman,” he added.
With Ohio already being a major target of Presidential politics, the state could also take the mantle for more intense Senate race in the country this November.