Three years after his last failed Senate bid, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman next year.
In a statement issued today, Mandel said he was inspired to run after watching the “sham and unconstitutional impeachment” of Donald Trump this week.
“I’ve heard loud and clear from my fellow Ohioans that we need a warrior that won’t quiver in their boots when it comes to standing up for conservative values,” Mandel said, implying that he is that much-needed warrior.
Like Trump, 43-year-old Mandel has a record of cozying up to bigots, particularly alleged white nationalists and Nazi aficionados.
In 2017, he attacked the Anti-Defamation League for listing alt-right commentators Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich in a report about hateful extremists.
In a since-deleted tweet, Mandel wrote, “Sad to see @ADL_National become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs. I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec.”
In 2011, he refused to return a $1000 campaign donation from a longtime Nazi reenactor, calling the whole thing a “manufactured nonissue.” Adding a layer of weirdness to the matter is the fact that Mandel himself is Jewish.
Then there was the time in 2012 when nine of his family members took out an ad in their local newspaper blasting Mandel for his antigay views, which include opposing same-sex marriage, voting against extending employment non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, and supporting the reinstatement of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Adding yet another layer of weirdness to the matter is the fact that Mandel himself has two gay cousins, one of whom served in the military.
Mandel previously ran for Senate in 2012, but lost handily to Sen. Sherrod Brown. He tried again in 2018, but dropped out, citing family health concerns.
While he is the first Republican to jump into the state’s open Senate race to replace Portman, it is expected to quickly become a crowded field.
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.