Republican Senate hopeful Josh Mandel tells Newsmax that if he gets to Washington he plans to “shake that place up” and stand up to “anyone who gets in my way” in his efforts to turn the country around.
The former Marine, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, speaks out against out-of-control federal spending and failure to balance the budget, and warns: “We can’t change Washington if we don’t change the people we send there.”
Mandel is now serving as Ohio State Treasurer and previously served in the Ohio House. He won the Republican Senate primary in a five-candidate race and faces Sen. Brown in the November election.
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Recent polls indicate that Mandel has been gaining on Brown, with a Rasmussen Reports survey showing the two in a statistical dead heat. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Mandel was asked what his campaign needs to focus on to achieve victory in November.
“Our focus is on economic issues,” he says. “Over the past decade while Sherrod Brown’s been a D.C. politician, Ohio has lost 500,000 jobs and 3,500 factories, and it’s unacceptable for our state. I think the free enterprise system violates his sensibilities. He thinks the government should run everything, whereas I think the private sector should drive the economy.
“Unfortunately Sherrod Brown, Barack Obama and others are trying to vilify job creators, and I think the American public is becoming sick of that vilification.”
Mandel draws a sharp contrast between the two candidates in the Ohio Senate race.
“This campaign is not about two shades of gray. This campaign presents two very different people,” he declares.
“Sherrod Brown has been in D.C. for two decades but he’s actually been running for political office since Richard Nixon was president, 38 years. I have never lived in Washington, never worked in Washington, and I plan on going there to shake that place up.
“I’m going to stand up to both Democratic and Republican leaders and the media and the lobbyists and anyone who gets in my way to do what I think is best for our country.”
Sherrod Brown supporters have suggested that at age 34, Mandel is too young to be an effective senator.
“We think my youth and energy is an asset, and we hope Sherrod Brown keeps whispering to people that he thinks I’m too young,” Mandel counters.
“Sherrod Brown has been running for office for four decades and if he was the answer here in Ohio, I think our problems would have been solved long ago. I think the citizens of our state and the citizens of America are looking for a new generation of leaders, people who think a little different and have the backbone, guts and intestinal fortitude to do the right thing and move the ball down the field economically.”
Sherrod’s campaign ads have been negative while Mandel’s are almost exclusively positive, he tells Newsmax.
“Our campaign ads are resonating, his are backfiring.
“The fact that Harry Reid’s Super PAC is spending over $800,000 [on Sherrod’s campaign] just shows that these guys are looking at the same polling numbers that we’re looking at. They’re very worried, as they should be.
“Our positive ads, talking about my blue color roots, my Marine Corps values, the high credit rating we’ve received in the treasurer’s office, all of that put into a nice tight package, contrasts very sharply with the fiscal mess in Washington D.C., where the debt is greater than our entire economy, where Sherrod Brown and others over the past two decades have borrowed over $1 trillion from China.
“I believe the lack of leadership and bad decisions in Washington are putting men and women throughout this country at a competitive disadvantage. So we’re going to continue telling the positive story.”
Mandel says his message resonates with tea party supporters and believes they could play a role in installing GOP candidates in the Senate as they did in the House in 2010.
“Their issues continue to be fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, healthcare freedom, and those are the kinds of issues I’m talking about on the campaign trail.
“I talk about the fact that Sherrod Brown cast the deciding vote on the federal government’s takeover of our healthcare system. We’re talking about balancing the budget. If small business owners have to balance their budget, politicians in Washington should have to do the same thing.
“I’m sick and tired, as are people I talk to around the state of Ohio and frankly throughout the country, of looking at Washington and seeing a bunch of politicians who think they can live by one set of rules while all of us live by a different set.
“We’re also talking about cutting the budget in Washington and reducing spending in a common sense way. The spending is out of control in Washington. There’s so much waste, fraud and abuse in the system, and I think we need folks going to Washington who are willing to change it. We can’t change Washington if we don’t change the people we send there.”
Mandel opposed the 2008 TARP bailout and still believes it was a mistake, he tells Newsmax.
“I just think it’s wrong to take Ohio tax dollars and use them to bail out banks and Wall Street.
“In 2008 and 2009, when a mom-and-pop diner was struggling or a guy who owns a pizza shop, there was no one from New York or Washington to say we’re here to bail you out with someone else’s tax dollars. I don’t think the federal government should be picking winners and losers. I think America is strongest when the citizens vote with their feet and they pick who they want to succeed and grow in the marketplace, not bureaucrats and politicians in Washington.
“In my mind, America would be stronger if we weren’t taking the tax dollars of middle-class families and using them to bail out banks and Wall Street.”
Mandel doesn’t believe Congress will attempt to tackle big issues before the election or in the lame duck session that follows.
“I think we’re going to have to tackle them next year,” he says. “I wish they would start attacking them now but there’s a lack of leadership on the Senate side.
“These folks in the Senate haven’t passed a budget for over 1,000 days. So I don’t think they’re going to tackle too many of these tough issues in the lame duck session between Election Day and January.”
As for Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin seeking to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Mandel says:
“I think a lot of the results of the leadership in Wisconsin speak for themselves. We’ve watched their property taxes go down there. I saw that the Chamber of Commerce said over 90 percent of their businesses say the business environment is going in the right direction.
“I’m sure [a Walker victory] will have ripple effects through the United States, but each state has its own individual issues and it’s important for leaders in every state to make decisions based on what’s best for their state. It’s obvious in Wisconsin that the tough decisions they have made have produced good results for families and senior citizens throughout that state.”
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