Sen. Sherrod Brown raised more than $5.4 million in the third quarter, his campaign announced Monday, as the Ohio Democrat faces a determined challenge from tea party favorite Josh Mandel.
Money matters a lot in this race, which both parties see as a key battleground in the war for control of the Senate. Ohio’s 20 electoral votes ended up going to Barack Obama in 2008, but it a crucial swing state this election season.
|Josh Mandel (AP Photo)
Mandel, 35, has been called a “boy wonder of Republican politics” by RealClearPolitics. He reported raising $4.5 million in the third quarter. He also has received generous support from outside groups anxious to unseat Brown, whom he has labeled “the most liberal senator in America.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, reported last week that it had spent $2.3 million on TV and radio ads to boost Mandel, making Brown one of the business lobby’s major targets.
But Brown, 59, isn’t doing badly in the money-raising race. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan tracking group, Brown has raised $20.4 million this election cycle, compared to $14.4 million for Mandel.
A Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Mandel is in his second term as Ohio’s treasurer. He previously served two terms in the state Legislature.
He likes to laugh at his own boyish appearance. In January he told Newsmax that his ambition was to start shaving by the time he reached his next birthday. But behind the jokes is a serious politician.
One campaign slogan he has used is "It ain't about the age, it's about the miles," saying the time he spent both in the military and in state politics more than match up to his opponent's decades of experience.
|Sherrod Brown (AP Photo)
Brown was first elected to the Senate in 2006, where he has a liberal, pro-labor voting record, and is now seeking a second term. He had previously served two terms as Ohio’s secretary of state and was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1974. He also taught democracy and government in Poland.
Brown has received the endorsement of four major Ohio newspapers, including the Plain Dealer of Cleveland and the Akron Beacon Journal.
Polls have consistently showed Brown leading, but Mandel still has hopes for a late surge of support.
So far Brown seems to be doing better in Ohio than Obama, and strong support for Mitt Romney could work to Mandel’s advantage.
"If Romney could keep it close, Mandel's going to be in the Senate," Scott Reed, a top political strategist for the Chamber of Commerce, told The Associated Press.
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