Poll: Brown’s lead expanding in Ohio

Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) lead over Republican Josh Mandel has expanded slightly, and his margin is back into the double digits, according to a poll released Thursday.

Brown leads Mandel by 14 points in the NBC-Marist poll, besting the first-term state treasurer 51-37. Twelve percent were undecided.

When NBC-Marist polled the race in March, Brown had a 10-point advantage on Mandel. But a Quinnipiac University poll in early May and other surveys from both Democratic and Republican firms had showed Mandel narrowing the gap to just a handful of points.

Both candidates have been flooding the airwaves with television ads — mostly negative — although most of the spending by super-PACs in the race has benefited Mandel.

A Marine veteran and former state lawmaker elected state treasurer in 2010, Mandel is facing scrutiny over contributions he and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) accepted from almost two dozen employees of a direct-marketing firm.

Mandel announced Wednesday that he was returning $105,000 in donations out of an abundance of caution while the FBI investigates the contributions, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. David Pepper, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.