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Josh Mandel is already beating Sherrod Brown

In fund raising, that is. Take a look at the 2nd quarter financial disclosures (4/1-6/30).

Sherrod Brown
Contributions: $1,487,006
Expenditures: $555,387
Net fundraising: $931,619

Josh Mandel
Contributions: $2,077,191
Expenditures: $161,204
Net fundraising: $1,915,987

Not only did Josh collect 40% more in donations than Sherrod, he spent a LOT less money doing so. After deducting expenditures, Josh raised more than twice as much.

This has to be worrisome to Sherrod Brown and Ohio Democratic Party Pirate Chairman Chris Redfern. It’s rare for a challenger to raise more money than an incumbent Senator. It’s even rarer for it to happen in the very first quarter for the challenger, but that’s what Josh has done.

So, only 3 months into his campaign, a campaign he hasn’t even announced yet, and Josh Mandel has $2.18 million cash on hand. Pretty good! Of course, Sherrod Brown has more. As an incumbent almost 5 years since his last election, he must be sitting on an insurmountable mountain of cash, right?

Wrong. Sherrod Brown has $3.5 million cash on hand. Yes, that’s more than Josh, but that’s his result after 5 years! Josh has ammassed his budding, but impressive war chest in 3 short months. No wonder Brown has been sending out messages like this to his base, pleading for cash.

Right-wing special interests have already started to pour money into Ohio in an effort to take this Senate seat. My campaign must raise $100,000 by June 30th to keep pace. Will you make a contribution of $25 — more if you can afford it, less if you can’t — right now to help me get there?

The other good news for Mandel is that he picked up another big endorsement.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s junior senator is endorsing Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel (man-DEHL’) in the 2012 race for U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says in a statement released by Mandel Tuesday that Mandel would provide the necessary focus on jobs and the economy. Portman is a Cincinnati Republican. He says he has helped Mandel and will continue to do so.

Mandel faces former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin (KAWG’-lin). So far, Coughlin is the only announced candidate in a GOP primary that will decide who faces incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown.

Speaking of Kevin Coughlin, he is a great conservative, but it’s just not in the cards for him. He isn’t going to get any traction against the Mandel juggernaut, and has only raised $54,000. As the only candidate to officially declare, I still get email updates from Coughlin’s campaign, in which he challenges Mandel’s conservatism. Good luck with that.

I just got a thank you letter from Mandel on letterhead that says “Josh Mandel for Senate”, but he’s not officially a candidate, yet, you know. *wink wink* So, when will Josh actually announce? He’s been very mum on the subject, but did recently sit down with National Journal in a rare conversation about the race.

It’s been a strange kabuki play in Ohio when it comes to his Senate candidacy. Even though he’s been actively raising money, and been meeting with Senate campaign officials in Washington, he’s hesitated to say he’s running.

Mandel offered little in the way of details about his future plans, saying only that an official campaign kickoff “will be coming sometime in the near future,” and that “instead of doing campaign bus tours around the state, I’m doing business around the state to small businesses and asking them, how, as state treasurer, can I help them cut through red tape and grow their company to create jobs here in Ohio.”

How would a Josh Mandel campaign take on Sherrod Brown?

Mandel’s criticism of Brown is twofold: he’s casting the senior senator as a career politician and trying to make the argument that Brown is far to the left of the majority of Ohio voters.

“He is way far to the left of where mainstream Ohioans are. On top of having strong support from conservatives and traditional Republicans, we also are earning a good amount of support from pro-business, national security hawk Democrats,” Mandel said.

And to that point, the fact that Sherrod Brown, has been running for political office since Richard Nixon was president, and the fact that he’s been in Washington for almost 20 years, is a serious, serious problem for him.”

Indeed, I’ve pointed out before that the GOP will have to educate Ohio voters on just how far left Sherrod Brown is. Since he is rated as being tied for the honor of America’s most liberal Senator, that shouldn’t be too hard. And looking around at our economy, and what his party’s liberal policies have produced, that will not be good news for Sherrod Brown.

Most pundits don’t have this race high on their list of GOP takeovers. But if Mandel continues raising money like this, and President Downgrade continues to sink even further in approval, Ohio will most certainly have to be removed from “likely Democrat” status.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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