Republican Josh Mandel First To Declare For Ohio's 2022 Senate Race

Former state treasurer Josh Mandel at a press conference in 2016
Former state treasurer Josh Mandel at a press conference in 2016. [Statehouse News Bureau]
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Republican Josh Mandel, a Marine veteran and former state treasurer, will make a third run for the U.S. Senate in Ohio.

He's the first candidate to officially announce for the seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) at the end of his currrent term.

Mandel, 43, announced his candidacy Wednesday with a campaign message focused on former President Donald Trump, who won Ohio by eight points in November, despite losing the election.

"I'm going to Washington to fight for President Trump's America First Agenda and to pulverize the Uniparty – that cabal of Democrats and Republicans who sound the same, stand for nothing and are more interested in cocktail party invites than defending the Constitution," Mandel wrote in a statement.

Mandel has been out of office since 2018, when he was term-limited as Ohio Treasurer. In his announcement, Mandel specifically criticized the second impeachment trail against Trump, which he decried as "sham and unconstitutional." 

Mandel ran for Senate twice before, both times unsuccessfully. He lost the 2012 general election to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) with about 45 percent of the vote, then dropped out of the Republican primary in 2018 because of his then-wife's health. Manel and his wife have since divorced.

Mandel filed paperwork to run for the U.S. House in late 2018, to possibly run during the 2020 cycle, but he never got into the race. When he ended his Senate bid, Mandel had more than $3.5 million left in his campaign account, and campaign finance experts said the House filing allowed him to keep his campaign account open.

Portman announced last month that he wouldn't again in 2022, blaming the lack of bipartisanship in the Senate. Portman had endorsed Mandel in the 2018 Senate primary, but has not made any comment about specific candidates in the upcoming race. 

Mandel likely faces primary competition from Jane Timken, who left her position as head of the Ohio Republican Party last week to explore a Senate run. Timken was backed by Trump when she took over the Ohio GOP leadership in 2017, but has never run for statewide office before. In her resignation letter, Timken mentioned she would seek to advance "conservative, America First policies in Ohio."

At least two Democrats – veteran U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who represents the blue-collar Mahoning Valley, and former state health director Amy Acton – have also signaled serious interest in the coveted open seat. Last week, Acton stepped down from her role at the Columbus Foundation to "carefully consider" the possibility of a Senate run.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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