Sherrod Brown Hits Josh Mandel in First TV Ad

Sherrod Brown Hits Josh Mandel in First TV Ad

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - April 27, 2012

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown's first television ad of his re-election campaign is a negative spot highlighting cronyism charges against his Republican challenger, state Treasurer Josh Mandel.

The Brown campaign says the ad is intended to strike back at attacks outside groups have aimed at Brown over the airwaves. "After more than a year of Josh Mandel's special interest friends attacking Sherrod Brown and lying about his record with 5 million dollars in negative ads, more negative ad spending than anyone else in the country has faced, we've decided to go on air,” said Sadie Weiner, spokeswoman for the campaign, in a statement.

The Dayton Daily News reported earlier this year that Mandel hired friends and inexperienced staffers from his 2010 campaign for positions in the Ohio treasurer’s office and gave them raises -- after having campaigned against his then-opponent’s hiring practices. “Unlike the current officeholder, I will ensure that my staff is comprised of qualified financial professionals, rather than political cronies and friends," Mandel said during his run for office, according to the newspaper.

The Brown ad features pictures of six Mandel staffers. “How to succeed in the state treasurer’s office without really being qualified? Get to know Josh Mandel,” says the narrator. The spot highlights the salaries of three of the aides. A former campaign manager makes $100,000; a college friend and chief financial officer earns $150,000; and a 26-year-old former campaign aide and current director of debt management earns $90,000. “Josh Mandel: He’s just a politician we can’t trust,” the voice-over says.

Mandel last week aired a positive ad for the first time. Highlighting his military experience, the spot shows the 34-year-old Mandel, an Iraq War veteran, tying the laces on his Marine Corps boots, meeting with constituents and giving a speech. "Marine veteran Josh Mandel knows America's strength begins with the middle class," the narrator says. "Grandson of a soldier and a blue-collar laborer, Josh Mandel served two tours in Iraq, and came home to protect our tax dollars."

The Mandel campaign fired back at the Brown spot, saying the negativity shows the incumbent is worried about the competitive race. “It’s not surprising that Sherrod Brown’s first TV ad is negative and says nothing about his own record,” said campaign spokesman Travis Considine. "Two decades in Congress supporting an agenda that forces job creators to leave Ohio, recklessly spending taxpayer dollars, and piling debt on the backs of middle-class Americans isn’t the positive message he’s looking to share with voters.”

The campaign also used Brown’s ad in a fundraising pitch. “We’ll take every dollar that we raise and use it to fund Josh’s positive message of service to country and community,” wrote Campaign Manager Ray Yonkura in an email to supporters Thursday night.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads GPS and other conservative outside groups have been running a reported $5 million in ads against Brown, who is seeking a second term. With Ohio being a key swing state in the presidential election, the U.S. Senate race there will be among the more competitive contests in the fall. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Brown leading Mandel by 8.5 percentage points.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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