The Ohio state treasurer who was pressing forward with a well-funded challenge to incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) dropped out of the race today, citing his wife’s health issues.
Josh Mandel challenged Brown’s Senate seat back in 2012, but lost with 45 percent of the vote. Some polls over the past year showed Mandel with the lead in a head-to-head rematch with Brown, in a race rated as leaning toward the Dems.
Mandel, a 40-year-old Marine Corps veteran, issued a statement noting that his campaign has been “on a path to defeating Sherrod Brown this November,” including by being “the top fundraising Republican challenger in the country.”
The candidate said he “recently learned” that his wife, Ilana, “has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence. In other words, I need to be there.” The two were married in 2008 and have three children together.
“Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign. For as long as that takes, whether it is months or years, it is important that I heed my dad’s advice and be there for my wife and our kids,” Mandel continued. “After recent discussions with our family and healthcare professionals, it has become clear to us that it’s no longer possible for me to be away from home and on the campaign trail for the time needed to run a US Senate race.”
The Republican called it “a difficult decision for us, but it’s the right one.”
“The issues facing our country are profound and I believe we had a voice and perspective better than the current one in the office. At the same time, I think it’s important to acknowledge the respect I have for Senator Brown for having the passion to advocate for his beliefs and, as Teddy Roosevelt once aptly said, the courage to be ‘The Man in the Arena,'” Mandel added. “I will continue to serve out the remainder of my term as State Treasurer and hope to have the opportunity to serve my state and country again in the future. But in the meantime, I must put my family first.”
The remaining candidates in the GOP field include Don Elijah Eckhart, who ran against Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in the 2016 GOP Senate primary but only got 17 percent of the vote, and Melissa Ackison, who was invited to the White House in July to share her story about difficulties with Obamacare. Cleveland businessman and GOP donor Mike Gibbons has been gaining the backing of Republicans in Ohio who have not supported Mandel.