News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hennes Paynter Communications


Akron General

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Year in review: Ohio's mega Senate race
Brown vs. Mandel: a match of money and scathing critiques
This story is part of a special series.

Karen Kasler
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

It was the most expensive and bitter campaign for U.S. Senate in Ohio history – and it featured two starkly different candidates. In our continuing review of 2012, Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler examines the race between Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel.

KASLER: Brown vs. Mandel

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:09)

The Senate race that would make history started quietly. Incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown, known as a veteran liberal lawmaker, started his campaign for a second term with almost no fanfare. State treasurer and conservative Republican Josh Mandel made his announcement at the Akron Press Club in March with some lines that became standard fare for his stump speeches. 

“Right now these partisan politicians in Washington are driving our country off a cliff. Sherrod Brown is behind the steering wheel. We cannot wait another six years to turn this country in a different direction.”

But that formal announcement  -- just five days before the March primary -- followed by many months the unofficial launch of Mandel’s campaign – and the big money and nasty claims that became the hallmark of the race.

GOP national hope
Mandel bested five other GOP contenders and won the nomination handily. Then he stepped up the visibility of his campaign by bringing in Republican rock stars such as former presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, rumored to be on Mitt Romney’s short list for vice president. 
“We need to change the majority leader – we need to change who’s in charge in the Senate. It does us no good to win the White House if Harry Reid is still in charge in the Senate.”

Mandel also appeared on campaign stops with Romney several times. But some criticized the youthful Mandel, saying he was running a campaign with lots of high-profile help and soundbites, but few ideas.

Meanwhile, Brown took some hits for not stumping enough with the candidate at the top of the Democratic ticket. Brown often said – as he did in January – that his schedule kept him from appearing with President Obama. 
“I’m glad to appear with him; it’s nothing like that. It’s just – they’ll make politics out of anything. And I support what he’s trying to do on job creation and will continue to.”

Money and anger
All along, the money was piling up – dollars raised by the candidates, and those spent by outside groups and so-called superPACs. The race was one of those targeted as a win for Republicans that could swing the Senate their way.

The issues in the campaign – the economy, trade, the auto bailout – were touched on in commercials that started out nasty and in some case were arguably false, and only got worse. 
“Josh Mandel – he’s become the candidate of the big lie.” 
“Sherrod Brown – living by different rules than us.”

Those angry ads set a tone that carried over into the three debates in October between Mandel and Brown. The first was at the City Club of Cleveland, the second a few days later in Columbus. 
Mandel: “The folks we’ve hired into our office are qualified professionals, and I believe their record speaks for themselves. (boos) Let’s talk about the record.” 
Brown: “He has the nerve and encouraging his friends to ask questions about term limits when he clearly has no regard for any of that. (boos, cheers and applause)” 
Mandel: “Senator, you are a liar.” 
Brown: “Josh Mandel, as we know, has trouble telling the truth.”

Newspapers back Brown, some reluctantly
Brown ended up with the endorsements of nearly every newspaper in Ohio – some of which backed his opponent, Mike DeWine, when he ran for the Senate in 2006.

Back then, that had been the most expensive U.S. Senate race in Ohio history. But this race dwarfed that. And Mandel had the edge when you added up his own money and that of the outside groups.

Still, though Mandel had been the No. 2 statewide vote getter in 2010, Brown beat him by 326,000 votes. That gave Brown 50 percent of the vote – Mandel had 45percent. And third-party candidate Scott Rupert brought in 5 percent.

On election night, Brown sounded physically spent. 
“This race was never about me or my opponent. It was about the veteran in Columbus. It was about the waitress in Waverly. It was about the steelworker in Yorkville, the auto parts worker in Lima, the small businessman in Marietta, the farmer in Waldo.”

The Brown-Mandel contest was the third most expensive Senate race in the country in 2012 – not far behind those in Massachusetts and Virginia, with the candidates and the outside groups spending $76.2 million. 

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Ohio Sen. Tom Patton proposes bill for firefighter cancer benefits
Thank you Senator Patton. On behalf of all of those who love our firefighters; we appreciate that someone is standing up for them and their continued health. ??...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University