Northeast Ohio Conservatives Rally Around Josh Mandel
Republican voters at a rally in Solon say GOP U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel is the polar opposite of his opponent, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and President Barack Obama.
Joy and Lowell Wolfe say they didn't become politically active until Barack Obama was elected to the White House.
Since then, the couple from Geauga County has volunteered for Republican causes, including working to repeal the new health care law. They want to kick Obama out of office, and send Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown packing too. They see Brown as walking in lock-step with the president.
"When people of Ohio had differences with the president, Sherrod Brown cast his vote with the president," said Lowell Wolfe.
Enter Josh Mandel.
Mandel is challenging Brown for his Senate seat. Currently Ohio's treasurer, Mandel has energized voters like the Wolfes who make up the Republican base.
The Wolfes and roughly 200 other votes came to the Solon Community Center on Tuesday night to hear Mandel speak to a crowd of supporters.
These voters, all staunch supporters of Mandel's candidady, said he is a credible and exciting opponent to the Democratic incumbent, one they think could make inroads in Cuyahoga County, traditionally a Democratic stronghold.
"He's a valid candidate and challenger to Sen. Brown," said Dennis Tidmore, president of the Southeast Republican Club, which hosted Mandel's rally in Solon. "He's diametrically opposed to what Brown stands for."
"Ohio is a swing state, one of the seven or eight states that are pivotal," he added. "If Republicans are galvanized and get out the vote and hit the streets and motivate others, so goes the nation."
During his speech, Mandel said Brown is a good person who loves his country but that the two men "just have a different idea of where we want to take this country" on issues such as health care and job creation.
"We're going to win it by going eyeball to eyeball, and gatherings just like this, and convincing people that the policy ideas and the vision for the country that I see, for which I fight, will take our nation, our state and our families in a much better direction," Mandel said.
The Mandel-versus-Brown tilt is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing races in the country. That's clear to anyone who's watched their television in recent weeks, as the money flows in and candidates and outside groups pummel each other with advertising. The contest will likely be the most expensive in Ohio history.
Joy Wolfe said Mandel is an honest candidate who she believes wants what's best for Ohioans.
"I think it's very important to have somebody responsible and who will work to improve our lives," she said. "Brown is too far left for me, so I'm interested to see how far Mandel's going to go."