Ohio's million-dollar Senate seat

Millions of dollars in television ads have been spent between Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and his challenger, Josh Mandel (R) in the race for one of Ohio's Senate seats. $6 million was spent in the last three weeks of September.

Nick Daggy/Middletown Journal/AP
US Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-Ohio), during a Democratic rally outside the IAM Local 1943 Lodge in Middletown, Ohio, Wednesday. Brown and his Republican challenger, Josh Mandel, have spent millions on television ads in Ohio, making their race is one of the most expensive in the country.

Job experience has surfaced as the defining issue of the hotly contested, super-expensive fight for Ohio's Senate seat this fall.

Incumbent Democratic Sherrod Brown faces Republican Josh Mandel in the race, which is one of the highest-profile contests in the country.

Brown's liberal voting record and surprise victory six years ago over incumbent Mike DeWine in a closely divided battleground state make him a prime target for Republicans seeking to gain Senate seats.

In a fight infused with outside money, Brown has painted Mandel as ignoring his job as state treasurer in a continual quest for higher office. Mandel says Brown has been on his job too long and Washington needs new blood.

The spat has played out in millions of dollars of television ads across the state. The Wesleyan Media Project found that $6 million was spent on more than 10,000 ads in the state Sept. 9-30 alone.

Mandel's youth and background made him a prime contender to take on a popular incumbent. Besides being a U.S. Marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq, he's proven a gifted fundraiser. Married into the well-heeled Ratner family of Cleveland, Mandel has raised $8.4 million to Brown's $10.5 million, according to the most recent federal election filings.

But more than half the money being spent on the race is coming from outside groups. Wesleyan found more than 53 percent of the September spending came from non-campaign entities. On behalf of Mandel, they've included the GPS Crossroads organization affiliated with former Bush strategist Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. On behalf of Brown, the National Education Association and other unions are putting money into the race.

At a September rally with AK Steel workers and other unions, Brown ripped the blitz of negative campaign ads aimed at him.

"You can't turn on your TV without seeing these nasty ads," he said.

The ads take on someone well-known to Ohio voters. Brown began his political career in 1974 as the youngest state representative in Ohio history, and went on to serve as secretary of state and congressman.

Brown has campaigned alongside President Barack Obama, touting their shared support for the federal health care overhaul and the bailout of the auto industry so pivotal to the manufacturing state's economy.

Married to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz, Brown had opened up a lead of 7 to 10 points in polls taken before the first presidential debate.

Mandel was elected to his first statewide office in 2010 after stints as a student body president at Ohio State University, Cleveland-area city councilman and state legislator.

He has shared polling with donors showing dedicated voters are in his corner. He has joined Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in appearances around the state and could benefit from a post-debate bump.

Mandel touts his fiscal conservatism and support for Washington reforms such as salary restraint and term limits.

"When you look in the dictionary under 'career politician,' you see a picture of Sherrod Brown," said Mandel, who is 35. Brown is 59.

Mandel has faced a steady stream of criticism: for hiring friends and political operatives into his state office, for being a no-show to his official state duties, and for accepting donations later targeted in an FBI probe.

Associated Press writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Ohio's million-dollar Senate seat
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today