Buckeye Brawl: Special Republican Rumble Edition

 October 15, 2021

Happy Friday, and welcome to a special edition of “Buckeye Brawl,” a weekly newsletter from the Ohio Democratic Party highlighting the nasty, chaotic, and expensive Republican primary for Senate. This out-of-control primary is making conservatives “deeply worried” about the prospects of Republicans losing this seat. 

As the Republican Senate primary continues to sink lower and lower, these GOP candidates are injecting even more nasty personal attacks, more chaos, and more money into this race. We’re here to help you keep track of all of it. 

Last night’s forum was a time for the out-of-touch millionaires to preview what attacks may make it to the airwaves since the ‘Foul Five’ have admitted they would spend $10 million each in order to stand out in this crowded primary. Here’s what you may have missed:

DUCKING THEIR PRO-DEWINE PAST. Moreno took a shot at the GOP Senate field for staying silent while DeWine issued a stay-at-home order to protect the health and safety of Ohioans last year. He said, “It’s one of the most popular things to do on this circuit, to say nasty things about DeWine. But where were they last April [2020], last May?” That would put Timken, Vance, Gibbons, and Mandel in the hot seat, showing these politicians will change their positions or do or say anything to help advance their own political agendas. It also further exposes deep divisions within the Ohio Republican Party, as one of the top applause lines of the night was an attack on a fellow Republican. 

WHO’S AN INSIDER? Some guy named Mark Pukita who’s apparently also running (?) took a shot at the entire Republican Senate field on stage and called them all insiders. Gibbons also had a similar attack in his opening statement, saying, “I firmly believe we don’t need another politician or party insider in Washington.” Timken’s a former GOP party chair, Mandel’s a former treasurer, Moreno and Gibbons are GOP donors, and Vance has been rubbing elbows with major GOP figures for years. And oh, yeah, Gibbons ran for Senate in 2018. 

TIMKEN AND VANCE ATTACKING JUDEO-CHRISTIAN BEDROCK? Now, Mandel has called Timken and Vance “squishy establishment Republicans” in the past. At yesterday’s forum in his opening statement, Mandel chose to tie his attacks on Timken to Vance as to why he’s running for the U.S. Senate in the first place. He said, “That Judeo-Christian bedrock is under attack by… some squishy establishment Republicans.” This follows Mandel’s attack last week in an interview with the Butler County Republican Party, where he said he is running to rid the Republican Party of RINOS like Jane Timken and J.D. Vance. He went on to call them both “squishy establishment RINOS” and said he wants them out of the GOP altogether.

WHO SUPPORTS THE BIG LIE THE MOST? In his closing statement, Josh Mandel said he was the only candidate who believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen and the only candidate calling for a 50 state audit in contrast to the rest of the GOP Senate field. Mandel repeated the Buckeye Big Lie, a new lie Mandel has made up that Trump won Ohio by more than 8 points. Mandel did the same last week and it’s clear he continues to drag the Republican Senate field down the Big Lie conspiracy rabbit hole. 

NO NEVER TRUMPERS AND PRO-IMPEACHMENT POLITICIANS. In his closing speech, Mandel went after Timken and Vance for their anti-Trump pasts. He said, “What we need in Washington is not these Never Trumpers, these pro-impeachment politicians…” Mandel continues to hammer Timken for saying Anthony Gonzalez had a “rational reason” to vote for the impeachment of Trump after the insurrection. Last week, in a Newsmax interview, Mandel said Vance “gets a lot of love from Never Trumpers.” This follows Mandel recently tweeting, “If the election were held today in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street and DC, Never-Trumper JD Vance would run away with it. If the election were held today in Ohio he’d get crushed.” These attacks are here to stay, folks. 

Thanks for reading along – that’s all for the Buckeye Brawl this week. If you have questions, my email is [email protected]. Have a great weekend!