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Sens. Cruz, Cotton, Portman, and Rubio Endorse Senate Hopeful Josh Mandel (R-OH)

Sens. Cruz, Cotton, Portman, and Rubio Endorse Senate Hopeful Josh Mandel (R-OH)

Meanwhile, Ohio governor John Kasich (R) indicates he may not endorse Mandel

The 2018 midterms are going to be followed like nothing we’ve seen before, drawing more mainstream media coverage than did even the 2010 midterms.  Although they have lost two special elections (Kansas and Montana) and failed to avoid a runoff in Georgia, Democrats and their media allies really really want the 2018 midterms to be a referendum on President Trump.

While we focus often on the fact that Democrats are divided between the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing and the slightly less radical Cory Booker wing, Republicans, too, are divided.  The 2018 Ohio Senate race for incumbent Sherrod Brown (D)’s seat provides a snapshot of this friction.

Conservative, conservative-leaning, and Trump-supporting Republicans are already endorsing Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel in what they hope will be a successful rematch between Brown and Mandel.  Mandel lost to Brown in 2012 and last year announced he was running again in 2018.

Mandel, a former Marine and combat veteran, announces his candidacy for Senate:

Today, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his endorsement of Mandel.

He’s not alone.

Mandel was an early supporter of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, but after Rubio dropped out, Mandel became an avid supporter of then-candidate Trump.

This support for Trump has drawn the ire of some in the GOP, notably of Ohio governor John Kasich (R).  Apparently still chafing over Mandel’s failure to endorse his candidacy in 2016, Kasich indicated earlier this month that he may not endorse Mandel. reported at the time:

In a national podcast released Tuesday, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich indicated he may not endorse GOP Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s bid for the U.S. Senate if Mandel turns out to be a “negative guy.”

But Mandel, who is seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018, doesn’t seem to be losing any sleep over Kasich’s possible endorsement, judging from a Mandel spokesman’s response to Kasich’s comments, made on Politico’s “Off Message” podcast.

“It’s no secret that Josh Mandel supported Donald Trump during the campaign, stuck with him in the rocky times, and continues to support him as President,” the spokesman, Chris Berry, said in a Wednesday email to “We understand that Josh’s support for President Trump may upset Governor Kasich, and we respect his decision whenever the time is right for him. Either way, Josh is the hardened, unabashed conservative and Marine vet, ready to win a primary and ready to beat Sherrod Brown.”

According to a separate article at, Mandel also upset Kasich by aggressively opposing both Ohio’s Medicaid expansion and an increased tax on fracking.

Mandel aggressively opposed two of the signature proposals in Kasich’s 2013 state budget proposal: accepting federal dollars to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program and an increased tax on fracking.

Parroting the Tea Party’s positions endeared Mandel to his party’s conservative base, but infuriated the governor’s loyalists, with a spokesman suggesting Mandel was little more than a shill for Big Oil.

Kasich is not alone in his resistance to Mandel.

Apparently, “key Republicans” are encouraging J. D. Vance, who moved back to his home state of Ohio from the Silicone Valley earlier this year, to challenge Mandel in the primary.  Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, is reportedly being courted by certain elements of the Republican party.

Buzzfeed reports:

Some Republican activists and donors worried about the prospects of their party’s Senate candidate in Ohio are kicking around an outside-the-box alternative: Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance.

The recruiting overtures reflect unease with the early GOP frontrunner, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is seeking a rematch with Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown.

Four sources with knowledge of the private encouragement confirmed the conversations to BuzzFeed News. They requested anonymity to speak freely about what could become another intra-party fight in a battleground state where Republicans are divided between those who embraced Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign and those who didn’t.


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“Democrats are divided between the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing and the slightly less radical Cory Booker wing”

Aren’t you forgetting the Al Franken-Jill Stein wing?

Ya know, the Frankenstein Wing.

casualobserver | May 31, 2017 at 9:22 am

Is “Silicone Valley” another name for Beverly Hills??

Hard to take the rumor about Vance too seriously yet. Off the record sourcing is the new way to publish near gossip as fact it seems.

Kasich, the Maxine Waters of the GOP. Also, the modern way of thinking says that there is no such thing as a former Marine. Once a Marine always a Marine. S/F Mac

    amatuerwrangler in reply to Old0311. | May 31, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I just knew there would be some push-back on the “Former Marine” mention. They can be very touchy about the *former* part. And that’s why we love ’em.

    MSO in reply to Old0311. | May 31, 2017 at 10:55 am

    He’s too young; career politicians will be the death of this nation.

    SF old0311 from an old2841 (64-68).

buckeyeminuteman | May 31, 2017 at 11:30 am

He had my vote six years ago and he’ll have it again in the fall. In fact, anyone who runs against Sherrod Brown has my vote.

I imagine that kasich’s lack of endorsement could only help Mandel.

Kasich’s endorsement means nothing here in Ohio. In fact, Mandel is much better off without it.

    As an Ohioan I follow said during the GOP primaries, “I’d vote for a turnip before I’d vote for John Kasich.”

    Kasich will go down as the establishment GOP’s Obama. Come voting day, his “endorsement” will be a kiss of death.

Kasich can’t endorse until his daddy McStain gives permission. #RINO4EVA

When are people going to stop pretending Kasich is a “Republican”. The guy would be a lock to get the democratic socialist position in 2020.

Which is why Kasich was last on my list of preferences for the Republican nomination, behind Trump. Though a hopeless cause by the time the primaries came around in NY, I voted for Cruz. Couldn’t see voting for a Democrat for the Republican nomination.

Trump’s performance to date had left me much happier then I thought I would be with it. I think that because he’s running his office as a businessman would rather then a politician, he’s confusing the heck out of reporters who don’t actually know any rough and tumble businessmen.

    Kid Glock in reply to gospace. | June 1, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Actually Trump is governing as a conservative businessman so far. I think he’s doing a great job.

    I also supported Cruz, but after Trump sewed it up I focused on defeating the Wicked Scourge of Hitlery.

      rabidfox in reply to Kid Glock. | June 1, 2017 at 2:48 am

      I’m never very happy with Senators as Presidential candidates – much prefer governors or, as it happens, businessmen. Mostly because I’d like someone who knows more about administration than how to spell it.

Kasich should come out of the closet and admit he’s a Democrat.