Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is developing a plan to “rescue the auto industry.”
When asked about the $82 billion government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009, Mandel said in a Thursday call to The Vindicator, “Our economy has not yet been rescued. So many people are still out of work.”
GM earned its largest profit ever in 2011, two years after the bailout. GM, with a complex in Lordstown that builds the Chevrolet Cruze, made a $7.6 billion profit last year. It received $49.5 billion of the bailout money.
“I’m not saying the bailout didn’t work,” Mandel said.
But Mandel said he “respectfully disagreed” that it saved the American auto industry.
Justin Barasky, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Democrat incumbent who Mandel would face in the November general election if the latter wins Tuesday’s Republican primary, mocked the state treasurer’s comments.
“Mandel’s claim to be putting together a plan to rescue the industry is a laughably candid example of how completely clueless he is as to what’s going on with Ohio’s middle class and how he’ll say anything to get elected,” Barasky said.
Brown was a vocal proponent who voted for the auto bailout, which saved thousands of jobs in Ohio, Barasky said.
Also, Mandel said “responsible” oil and gas exploration is a key platform of his Senate campaign.
When asked in mid- January about the decision by Gov. John Kasich, a fellow Republican, to declare a moratorium on brine- injection wells within a seven-mile radius of a Youngstown well, near the epicenter of 12 earthquakes, a Mandel campaign spokesman said the candidate “doesn’t have an opinion on” it. The earthquakes attracted international media attention.
On Thursday, Mandel said he wasn’t familiar with the decision at the time, but “now that I learned more about it, the governor took a responsible approach.”
Barasky said Mandel is “admitting ignorance about natural-gas exploration.”
Though he’s campaigned for the Senate seat for a year and turned in nominating petitions by the Dec. 7 deadline, Mandel said he “officially” announced his candidacy Thursday, less than a week before the Tuesday primary. He said he waited because he wanted to “clean up the treasurer’s office,” something he said he did this week.
“We are now running one of the most effective and efficient treasurer’s offices in the country,” he said.
Mandel, who criticized Brown as an ineffective career politician, will make a campaign stop at 10 a.m. Saturday at Eastwood Mall’s community room in Niles.
“I think the Mahoning Valley is going to be one of the key areas in America that helps rebuild the manufacturing backbone of our country,” he said.