Race for Senate is study in contrasts

By David Skolnick



U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, said his re-election bid would be a certainty if outside groups weren’t spending more than $23 million to defeat him.

“This wouldn’t be a race if it weren’t for the fact they’re spending more against me than any Senate race in the country, period,” Brown said.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, his Republican opponent, sees it differently.

“Ohio is not the most liberal state in the country, but we have a guy representing us who was named the most liberal senator in America,” according to the National Journal, Mandel said.

Brown had that distinction in 2009 and 2010, but the magazine’s latest analysis of his 2011 votes had him tied for fifth.

Also running for the seat is Scott A. Rupert as an independent. Rupert of Mechanicsburg is a self-employed truck driver.

Mandel of Lyndhurst criticizes Brown for supporting the auto bailout as well as the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare, the national health care law.

Mandel hints at not supporting the auto bailout, but won’t give a yes-or-no answer on whether he supports the $82 billion federal government rescue that many auto officials say saved the industry.

Mandel criticized the bailout saying it picked winners and losers, specifically mentioning Delphi salaried retirees who lost their health and life insurance and had their pensions cut.

Mandel also wants to repeal the health care law but favors two key points in it: keeping those under 26 on their parents’ health care plan, if needed, and requiring health insurance companies not to deny coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Mandel is “already making exceptions to the bill, but you can’t remove items without unraveling it,” Brown said.

Brown of Avon said he is proud of his vote for the health-care bill, which has already seen 1.2 million senior citizens in Ohio get access to free preventive care and saved about $600 each on Medicare prescription costs.

“It’s not a liability,” Brown said about campaigning for re-election in support of his vote for Obamacare. “People are seeing the benefits.”

Also, without the bailout, Brown said, the automotive industry would have been destroyed.

Brown criticizes Mandel’s campaign style, questioning his integrity.

“You can judge an elected official by how that person runs a campaign,” Brown said. “He has a history of running campaigns that are questionable and less than honorable.”

Brown also said Mandel refuses to answer questions and is an opportunist who jumps from one elected position to another. Mandel is running for his fourth elected position since 2003.

Mandel has labeled Brown a “career politician” who’s run for office since 1974.

Brown doesn’t dispute the claim.

“I am,” he said. But he added, “I’m proud of what I’ve done, and people appreciate what I do.”

The difference, Brown said, is “I take this job seriously. As a senator, you don’t just look for the next job and your ambition trumps everything else.”

The federal government needs to be changed because it’s been “broken by career politicians” from both parties, Mandel said.

This is Rupert’s first run for political office.

Rupert wants to repeal Obamacare, reduce the national debt, and reduce regulation on small business to make it easier for people to start businesses.

Rupert’s political agenda also includes lifting restrictions on drilling for oil and natural gas.

On his website, Rupert said, “Government can’t create jobs, but it can eliminate them. By throttling production of natural gas, oil, and shale oil within our borders, the federal government has ignored the employment opportunities within the petroleum industry. These jobs are readily available and would support our national economy.”

Brown is seeking his second six-year term in the U.S. Senate. In 2006, he defeated Republican Mike DeWine.

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