Politics

Josh Mandel Could Be Ohio’s Next Senator. So What Does He Believe?


His initial engagement was to a Democrat — a Democrat who would operate as an advance advisor and associate on Obama’s marketing campaign and in his White Home. But now, at 30 decades outdated, in the summer time of 2008, Mandel bought married — in Jerusalem to the previous Ilana Shafran, also a Democrat. Shafran was the granddaughter of Fannye Ratner Shafran, who with her three brothers constructed the genuine estate advancement firm Forest City Enterprises that helped make the Ratners one of the wealthiest, most distinguished and politically lively family members in Ohio and over and above.

In the fall of 2008, Mandel served as properly as a co-chair of Ohio Veterans for McCain, the Arizona senator and that cycle’s Republican presidential nominee. McCain, Mandel informed the Affiliated Push, had the “gut instinct” to guide the country. Obama gained Ohio and received the White Residence, of system, but east of Cleveland Mandel was reelected conveniently to his condition rep seat.

And he stunned no one the next spring by announcing his very first statewide run — for point out treasurer. In a speech in Lima, Ohio, he confirmed off shoes with holes in the soles he mentioned he had worn though knocking on 19,679 doors in his condition rep operates. They gave him a standing ovation.


In retrospect, and even in actual time, the operate in 2010 was a hinge moment in the background of Mandel. The tea occasion revolt afoot, the politics of the early Obama several years had been marked by a more partisan, much more menacing nationwide temper. Mandel waged a distinct variety of marketing campaign.

Kevin Boyce, the incumbent point out treasurer, was Black. Amer Ahmad, Boyce’s leading deputy, was Arab American and Muslim. Boyce’s office environment had specified a reduced-bid, $32-million point out financial investment deal to a Boston bank that experienced just employed as a lobbyist a Columbus-spot attorney named Mohammed Noure Alo — who was friends with Ahmad. Boyce also hired Alo’s wife as a receptionist in his workplace. Ahmad, Alo and Alo’s spouse all attended the very same mosque.

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Mandel’s campaign accused Boyce of “cronyism and corruption,” blasting out a fundraising attractiveness in which he used the term “mosque” 3 times. “We have earned community officials who use tax bucks to hire people today mainly because they are competent — not simply because they belong to their comrade’s Mosque,” Mandel wrote.

And on Sept. 30, 2010, he took to Television with a statewide airing of what might continue being the most notorious advert of his occupation.

“Corruption,” his campaign identified as it. As advert fodder, it was additional than fair game. Boyce himself hadn’t broken any rules, but Ahmad and Alo later on ended up convicted of money laundering and wire fraud and sentenced to prison in what ended up getting the biggest kickback scheme in state governing administration annals. But as major as that was, it is not what people today try to remember the most: Mandel injected into the 30-2nd location an unmistakable air of Islamophobia, employing music that was vaguely Center Japanese and leaving viewers with the perception that Boyce, who is Christian, was a member of the similar mosque.

“What it was genuinely about was uncovering corruption that was taking place underneath the nose of Kevin Boyce,” Jonathan Petrea, who managed Mandel’s strategies for the point out legislature, informed me. “That should really have been the takeaway. Rather, everyone was distracted by claims of Islamophobia,” he said.

“Mandel has proven that he will do just about anything to win a vote. Josh would fairly sink to outright lies and dread-mongering,” Chris Redfern, then the Ohio Democratic Occasion chair, explained in a statement at the time. “His advert is practically nothing a lot less than a modern-day-day Willie Horton smear. He should really choose it down instantly, and he ought to be ashamed.”

And he was. At least a aspect of him was. Mandel took it down off Tv — although he held it on his YouTube webpage — and he confided in a close friend he regretted it. “He known as me,” claimed Matt Cox, a GOP operative in Ohio who is not close any longer with Mandel, “and he mentioned, ‘I experience I genuinely screwed up listed here.’”

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He said so publicly, far too, but not right until soon after he won.

“I regret working the advertisement,” he stated in Columbus Regular. “I designed a oversight.”

“After the election, I broke bread with Treasurer Boyce, at Bob Evans,” he reported on regional Tv set. “And I did apologize to him.”

“This will be an advert that will haunt Josh Mandel’s political occupation,” Redfern explained to the Simple Supplier that December.

At the time, on the other hand, it didn’t haunt Mandel’s occupation so a great deal as give it a boost. He got from his have get together a wave of constructive reinforcement. Republicans took to talking about him as a challenger to Sherrod Brown for the Senate. Mandel was sworn in as point out treasurer in January. The chatter grew louder in February. By March a team of conservatives about the state experienced begun a draft.

That spring, back on his property turf at the annual supper of the Cuyahoga County Republican Occasion, the group’s finance chair capped his introduction of the ascendant Mandel with just a few phrases.

“Run, Josh, run.”


Mandel expended most of his first two several years as condition treasurer functioning for the United States Senate.

He did not formally announce his candidacy until 14 months in. In just his 1st 12 months, however, he traveled to fundraisers in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Utah and Hawaii, although missing 14 straight conferences of the Ohio Board of Deposit — of which he was chair. Justin Barasky, a longtime Brown aide who then was operating for the Ohio Democratic Occasion, dubbed Mandel the state’s “absentee treasurer.”

In a single of Mandel’s to start with interviews in his new job, he talked about Sherrod Brown. “Sherrod Brown,” he said, “has voted to the still left of Bernie Sanders, who is a socialist.”

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