The Ohio Senate race is heating up, with six GOP candidates vying to match up against democrat incumbent Sherrod Brown. The current favorite for the March 6 primary is young Jewish military veteran and current state treasurer Josh Mandel.
“I know Josh was actively recruited by top party leaders and insiders to run for this seat,” Matthew Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director, said to the Times of Israel. “It was a process that unfolded over several months, with Josh initially not considering the idea. As the support grew and the calls for him became louder, Josh agreed and then fully committed himself to the race and doing what it took to be the next senator from Ohio come November.”
During his three years as city councilman for Cleveland suburb Lyndhurst and two terms as a state representative, Mandel was called into active duty for the Marine Corps.
“I’m the grandson of a Holocaust survivor who was liberated by Allied troops, and I’m the grandson of a US Army Air Corps veteran,” explained Mandel to JTA. “These hard-working, gutsy men instilled in me a duty to community and a duty to country.”
This sense of duty extended to his choice of career. “He epitomizes the values of the Jewish community and is someone who has demonstrated an ability to go beyond their base of support in the Republican side and be attractive to Jewish Democrats and Independents,” the RJC’s Brooks added.
While he has never served in federal office, Mandel’s supporters promote his record on Israel. In 2007, Mandel introduced legislation that would force Ohio pensions to divest from companies doing business with Iran. The Ohio House eventually passed a more lenient version of the bill. NORPAC has held fundraiser to support Mandel’s campaign.
Brown has faced criticism for not signing several Senate letters supported by pro-Israel factions and is supported by J Street.
J-Connection: Ohio State treasurer Josh Mandel is a Jewish war veteran.