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Ohio’s Senate Candidates To Square Off At City Club Monday

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 5:37 PM

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Candidates for U-S Senate in Ohio debate Monday afternoon in Cleveland and later in the week in Columbus. Unlike races for statewide office, candidates for U-S senate often include national and international issues in their pitch for votes. From Ohio Public Radio station WOSU in Columbus, Tom Borgerding reports.

Candidates for U-S Senate in Ohio debate Monday afternoon in Cleveland and later in the week in Columbus. Unlike races for statewide office, candidates for U-S senate often include national and international issues in their pitch for votes. From Ohio Public Radio station WOSU in Columbus, Tom Borgerding reports.

As Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel hone their campaigns, both have turned to international trade and trade with China in particular to gain an edge with voters.

But, Denison University political scientist Paul Djupe says candidates take risks when raising trade issues.

“It really cross-cuts, I mean you’ll hear free-trade democrats, you’ll hear free trade republicans, and you’ll hear protectionist democrats and protectionist republicans, so the politics don’t add up very easily here,” says Djupe

Figures from the Ohio Department of Development illustrate the cross cut. Last year, Ohio exported 2-point-7 billion dollars worth of materials to China. But, imports from China to Ohio topped 11-billion dollars.

Brown purposefully links China trade to Ohio’s loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs between 2001 and 2011.

“We do chemicals in Ohio, we do foundries, we do steel,” says Brown.

Brown makes his point while addressing workers at a southside Columbus foundry. He touts his legislation to sanction Beijing for using currency controls to help China compete with Ohio factory and assembly workers.

“And when you see a country cheat on its currency, it basically means when you sell into that country you have a 20 percent disadvantage. When they sell into our country and compete with us, they have a 20 percent, basically, bonus.” Brown explains.

Republican Mandel dismisses Brown’s effort to sanction China.

“I think the current legislation is misguided, meaningless, and has no teeth whatsoever,” says Mandel.

Mandel says diplomatic pressure toward China would be more effective in the bi-lateral tug of war for manufacturing jobs.

“Unfortunately the trade deficit with Sherrod Brown in Washington has gotten worse, and worse, and worse. And so I believe he has no credibility and no footing whatsoever to introduce legislation,” Mandel says

Mandel and Brown will get further chance to address China trade, jobs, and the economy during a scheduled debate Monday at the Cleveland City Club. 

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