DRAMA IN OHIO – AT 9:31 A.M. ET: With all the attention paid to the presidential race, we sometimes forget that Congress is also up for grabs this year. The Republicans will likely lose some seats in the House, but will probably retain control. The Senate is the real battleground, with the GOP believing it can win a majority, if only a majority of one or two. It's a tough fight, being fought state by state.
One of the toughest races is in Ohio, which will also play its usual oversized role in the presidential contest. Democratic super-liberal Sherrod Brown, in his first term, was expected to coast to victory, but is being challenged by the very spirited state treasurer, Josh Mandel, a Marine combat veteran of Iraq. The race is closer than the Dems had expected, and so the smears against Mandel are beginning, as reported by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line:
Politico is unhappy that Josh Mandel, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, has made a race out of it with incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown. The Real Clear Politics average for May polls has Mandel, who formerly trailed by double-digits, within 8 points of Brown. The latest Rasmussen poll, from the end of May, has it at Brown +5. And according to Politico, the Brown campaign expects a closer race than that.
Politico and the Brown campaign attribute the closeness of the race to outside money. Brown “has been on the receiving end of $8.3 million in outside attacks through last week,” Politico moans. “The latest batch, an $800,000 Crossroads GPS buy, slices Brown for voting with President Barack Obama ’95 percent of the time.’”
Apparently, it hasn’t occurred to Politico that Brown may be struggling because he has consistently voted with an unpopular president. It’s a case of blame the messenger, not the message, I suppose. Oh for those happy pre-Citizens United days when a senator could cast unpopular votes in peace and quiet, with the liberal MSM covering for him.
Politico finds it so unfair that the voters of Ohio are taking Mandel seriously. After all, his campaign is under investigation over certain contributions, and he has “a prickly relationship with his home state press corps.” But Sen. Brown failed to pay property taxes on his Washington, D.C., condo for several years. And a prickly relationship with the press is not necessarily a badge of dishonor.
The bottom line is that Sen. Brown is way too liberal for Ohio. His ACU (American Conservative Union) ratings from 2010 and 2011 are zero. His lifetime rating is 7.4. Any senator who is that far out of line with the views of the voters in his state is going to struggle in a re-election campaign, provided that his opponent is able to get his message out.
COMMENT: I thought it amusing when, last week, Brown signed a statement co-signed by 43 other senators, demanding a tough line on Iran. When an ultra-liberal starts doing that, you know he's feeling the heat.
It will be tough for Mandel, but, if Romney can bring enough followers to the polls to take the state in November, that may provide enough votes for Mandel to slip in.
June 18, 2012