MEMORANDUM: One Year Since He Announced, Josh Mandel Has Forced The Other GOP Senate Candidates To Race To The Extreme
February 10, 2022
To: Interested Parties
From: Michael Beyer, Communications Advisor at The Ohio Democratic Party
Re: One Year Since He Announced, Josh Mandel Has Forced The Other GOP Senate Candidates To Race To The Extreme
One year ago today, Josh Mandel announced he was running for U.S. Senate on the Big Lie, saying the 2020 presidential election was stolen. It’s indicative of how this entire GOP Senate primary has gone so far: Josh Mandel stakes out an extreme position and the rest of the out-of-touch millionaires follow suit days or months later. The “frenzy to land Trump’s endorsement” has spurred the GOP Senate candidates to sprint to the right. As a result, the Ohio GOP Senate primary has “descended into meanness and pettiness and just plain craziness unlike anything ever seen in Ohio Republican politics.” On several issues from impeaching Biden and the Big Lie to opposing Mike DeWine and impeachment, all of the leading candidates have blindly followed wherever Josh Mandel leads them.
The problem for the GOP Senate candidates is that they are all trying to do their best knock-off Josh Mandel impression to compete for Trump’s endorsement, but the path to victory for statewide Ohio has been through “reasonable” and “respectable” Republicans. Several conservatives, including Ben Shapiro and Erick Erickson, have sounded the alarm with just how bad the Republican Senate primary is going for them, with Shapiro openly worrying that it could lead to the seat winding up in Democratic hands. Erickson said he was “rather embarrassed to see the insanity in Ohio.” University of Cincinnati professor David Niven points out the challenge for Ohio Republicans, saying, “One of these Republicans is going to have to run statewide and that is an entirely different matter than running in a Republican primary, especially in a primary where loyalty to Trump is all the candidates talk about. It will be a tough race.”
With three months left, there’s no telling just how far these out-of-touch candidates will go to catch up to Josh Mandel. As they have played musical chairs to be in second or third place in their own internal polls, the GOP Senate candidates will only become more desperate the closer they come to Election Day, making this race even more chaotic, nasty, and expensive. The race to the extreme will only hobble the future Republican nominee and show Ohioans that these out-of-touch candidates are only focused on themselves, instead of showing how they will improve the lives of working Ohioans.
Below are several issues where Mandel has forced the GOP Senate field to stake out an extreme position. The question for GOP Senate candidates who want Trump’s endorsement that has defined this primary: “Josh Mandel has asked me to jump, but how high?”
- On August 23, 2021, Josh Mandel tweeted, “Impeach Biden NOW!”
- On August 25, 2021, Jane Timken followed Josh Mandel, tweeting her support for impeaching Biden.
- Several months later, on January 31, 2022, J.D. Vance said, “I’m absolutely for articles of impeachment. The question is what for? There’s so much…”
THE BIG LIE
- One year ago, Josh Mandel launched his campaign with a lie saying the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Donald Trump.
- Last month, J.D. Vance finally caught up to Mandel, saying the election was “stolen” from Donald Trump.
OHIO’S 2020 ELECTION
- In August, Josh Mandel said Trump won Ohio by more than 8 points.
- When he was asked about Mandel’s claim that Trump won Ohio by more than 8 points, Vance told The Vindicator in October 2021: “I think it’s probably true that Trump won by a larger margin in Ohio, but I think as things go, we had as (U.S. Rep.) Jim Jordan said, our elections were pretty gold standard.”
- On February 10, 2021, the day he launched his campaign, Mandel said, “I completely disagree with Gov. DeWine’s handling of the shutdowns of all these businesses and schools.”
- In reporting from March 2021, after she became a Senate candidate, Timken was quoted implicitly praising Mike DeWine’s COVID leadership, saying, “Ohio has led the way and done better than many other states in tackling the pandemic.” After a few months in the Republican Senate primary, Timken took a markedly less supportive tone, saying DeWine had done an “okay” job but that she has disagreements with how DeWine has handled the pandemic.
- Josh Mandel has touted meetings with January 6 rallygoers on his Twitter account and in September 2021 called those charged with crimes on January 6 “political prisoners.”
- On the anniversary of January 6, J.D. Vance called those charged with crimes “political prisoners.”
- On January 6, 2021, Jane Timken tweeted, “As Americans we have the constitutional right to redress our grievances but not with violence. What’s happening in the Capitol is wrong and not the way forward.” After entering the Senate race, Timken changed her tune and said in June 2021 that January 6 has been “blown out of proportion” and that there were “good, patriotic Americans who went to the Capitol.”