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Josh Mandel v Sherrod Brown: profiling the candidates

One of the nation's mostly hotly contests races features Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Sherrod Campbell Brown being challenged by Republican, Josh Mandel. Either way Ohio is still going to have a U.S. Senator from Greater Cleveland.

Brown will be 60 right after the election. He was born in and grew-up in Mansfield, and educated in the public school system. He apparently did quite well, as he earned his undergraduate degree from Yale. He holds a B.A. degree in Russian studies. He then received an M.P.A. and an M.A. in education, from The Ohio State University (OSU).

He is divorced and remarried to Connie Schultz, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, until she resigned to help his re-election. He has four children.

Brown lists “teacher” as his occupation. However, this Examiner could only find evidence of him teaching at OSU’s Mansfield campus while he was doing his graduate work in Columbus. As suggested just below, while doing his graduate studies and teaching, he was also a state representative. Between late 1990 and early 1993, he may have been doing some more adjunct teaching though this Examiner couldn’t find it listed.

Brown is what most people would probably label a career politician. To wit: Right after he graduated from Yale, he ran for the Ohio House of Representatives and won, becoming, at least up to that time, the youngest person ever elected to Ohio’s General Assembly.

He was re-elected three more times before being elected Secretary of State. That included winning a four-way Democratic primary where the redoubtable Dennis Kucinich was one of his opponents. He was re-elected in 1986, but in 1990 lost his bid for a third term to Bob Taft, who was on his way to becoming governor. That is the only time up to the present he appears to have been out of public office since he first ran in 1974.

Brown then found an area he thought really needed his services, so he moved to the city of Lorain in Lorain County, the county immediately west of Cuyahoga, where Cleveland is. Brown became a seven term Congressman from Lorain. In 2006, he ran for the U.S. Senate defeating incumbent Republican (and now state Attorney General) Mike DeWine. Sometime after 2006, he moved to the City of Avon, in Lorain County and which borders Cuyahoga County.

So Brown is 14 out of 15. Brown has become an increasingly liberal Democrat. He runs in areas where Democrats traditionally do well. Both Lorain and Mansfield are industrial cities with unions such as the United Auto Workers and United Steel Workers. His first statewide race was in 1982 when a severe recession made Republicans fairly unpopular; he then got re-elected once before losing to Taft.In 2006, he was, as noted, elected to the U.S. Senate.

This Examiner found no evidence of Brown having military service.

Much of the biographical material is from

Joshua A. Mandel will be 35 later this month, despite the fact that he almost looks like he’s still in college. He was born in and grew-up in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs. He went to the public schools and then earned his B.A. degree in communications from The Ohio State University, followed by a law degree (J.D.) from Case Western Reserve University. He, too, has liked politics from early on. He served two terms as OSU’s student body president.

Mandel then enlisted in the Marine Corps and was first in his Marine Corps “class” in boot camp (basic training) at infamous Paris Island and then first in his intelligence training class. Mandel served two tours in Iraq and during each tour was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, which he received for “superior performance.”

He is married and has no children so far. When this Examiner met him very briefly two years ago, he looked fit enough, and with that model posture, to be one of the poster Marines seen in recruiting ads and in the movies..

Following his first tour in Iraq, he ran for councilman in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst. He served three years and did succeed in getting a small rollback in homeowner property taxes.

Then he ran for state representative, literally going door-to-door. He reportedly knocked on over 19,000 doors. Running as a Republican in a district that is 2:1 Democratic, Mandel won and was re-elected with over 70 percent of the vote.

In 2010, Mandel was elected state treasurer by receiving almost 55 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Kevin Boyce. Mandel’s over two million votes in 2010, was more than any of the Republicans running for statewide office. All the statewide offices were up for re-election 2010 including Ohio’s other U.S. Senate seat, which was won by Rob Portman, a Republican from Cincinnati.

Mandel might have been able to avoid that his second tour of duty in Iraq as he was a sitting member of the Ohio General assembly. Instead, he immediately "answered the call" and served in combat zones (there are no front lines in the traditional sense), so he was in danger much of the time. When he returned, the entire Ohio House greeted him with a standing ovation. Such is the camaraderie political peers can have for each other despite sharp differences on issues and philosophical opinions. Unfortunately it is short lived in both Columbus and especially Washington.

Mandel’s campaign to unseat Brown started very clean and positive, playing on his accomplishments, especially as Treasurer, and his kind of hero status due to his Marine Corp service. Without putting either too fine a point on it or using the many apropos expletives, the Mandel v Brown race changed quickly. Perhaps it can best be described in that old-fashioned expression...IT STINKS!. And a good chunk of that odor is from out-of-state and super-PACs.

Much of the biographical materials is from

One final note...It strikes this Examiner that both candidates are devoid of any business or other meaningful private sector experience. Sorry! Serving on boards, committees, etc. doesn't count. In fact, the closest either seems to have had to with the hard knocks of the real world is Mandel's combat experience, which while not the same as having to make a payroll certainly does help "make men."

Stay tuned for the next column on this race when issues and ads will be reviewed.


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