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Government and Politics

Sparks expected to fly in Senate debate
Democratic, Republican strategists agree Brown/Mandel debate could get heated
This story is part of a special series.

Karen Kasler

The two candidates locked in the nasty battle for US Senate in Ohio – incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican treasurer Josh Mandel – meet for their first of three debates today at the City Club of Cleveland. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler will be moderating the debate, and she talked to two longtime political strategists for a preview.

Kasler previews Monday's Senate debate

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Republican consultant Mark Weaver says Josh Mandel’s biggest weakness is that he’s largely unknown. 

“Most people don’t know who Josh Mandel is, and that’s something of a weakness because Sherrod Brown is a known figure in Ohio politics. Remember, he’s been in Ohio politics and government at some level since color television came into our living rooms in the early 70s.”

Franklin County Democratic Party chair Greg Haas says one of Sherrod Brown’s weaknesses is his long record, especially compared to Mandel’s. 

“He doesn’t have a very long record, and I think that in the end Sherrod’s biggest problem will be to not look like he’s picking on Josh.”

But Weaver and Haas do agree that this debate has the potential to be fiery. 

“I think it’s going to be a hard fought debate with two very different styles. Sherrod Brown is a crafty, combative veteran. Josh Mandel is a new face – now this guy was a Marine. He’s as tough as nails. And I think it’s going to make for a very interesting debate.”

“It will be combative. I mean obviously, Josh has run a campaign that, where you attack a person’s patriotism because you disagree with him or those kinds of things, I think that he and Sherrod will definitely, there will be a lot of sparks flying.”

As for the negative ads in this race, the strategists agree that there’s a chance it will continue and even get worse. Weaver says that so-called “contrast campaigns” work to inform voters – and those campaigns can seem negative to some voters. But Haas says Mandel’s negatives in polls are high, and perhaps his campaign may consider going more positive in the future to raise those perceptions.

Listener Comments:

Brown is a Obama twin - he supports socialism/spread the wealth (to gov. bureaucrats) lie to the hilt.
Mandel seems to not hesitate expressing his disdain with the current administration - this may seem negative, but the purpose is probably to encourage voters to find answers/proof that his claims are true.

Posted by: socialists oppose capitalism on October 17, 2012 11:10AM
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