Republican Ohio treasurer drops out of US Senate race

CINCINNATI (AP) — Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced today he is dropping his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, citing his wife's health.

Mandel's decision announced in an open letter to "friends and family" leaves Cleveland banker Mike Gibbons on the Republican side for now. Brown, who defeated Mandel in 2012, is seeking a third term.

Mandel states in his letter his wife has a health issue that will require him being there for her and their three children. He calls the decision "difficult ... but it's the right one."

Mandel wrote: "Understanding and dealing with this issue is more important to me than any political campaign."

A message seeking comment was left for Mandel.

In a statement, Gibbons said he's sending prayers for the Mandel family and hoping for the best.

Gibbons also called on Republicans to unite to defeat Brown, although Mandel's departure could lure other Republicans into the race. There's still a month left before the filing deadline for the May 8 primary.

Mandel, a 40-year-old Iraq war veteran, said he will finish his second term as treasurer. He was re-elected in 2014.

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