Mandel gets Club for Growth nod in Ohio Senate primary

Mandel gets Club for Growth nod in Ohio Senate primary
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The Club for Growth announced Thursday that it is endorsing former state Treasurer Josh Mandel in the 2022 Ohio Senate GOP primary, giving his campaign a big boost in what could be a crowded nominating contest.

Mandel jumped into the race to replace retiring Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris Senate starts infrastructure debate amid 11th-hour drama MORE (R-Ohio) in February. So far, former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken has announced her campaign, while several other Republicans are mulling bids of their own. 

“Josh Mandel is not only an American patriot who served two tours in Iraq, but he is also a strong constitutional conservative who believes in limited government, balanced budgets, low taxation, and parental school choice,” said Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh. “Ohio taxpayers can count on Josh to use their money wisely and fight for policies that advance economic freedom, not Big Government.” 

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The endorsement was first reported by Politico.

The conservative anti-tax group first endorsed Mandel during his 2012 and 2018 challenges to Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTop Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch MORE (D-Ohio). Mandel lost in 2012 and cut his campaign short in 2018 over family health issues.

"Very grateful to have the backing of bold Constitutional Conservatives as our fight for liberty, limited government & economic freedom charges forward!" Mandel said of the endorsement.

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Club for Growth has increasingly thrown its financial weight around down-ballot races in recent cycles, and their support could be critical in what is expected to be expensive primary and general election campaigns. While Timken is the only Republican to formally enter the race, she has already released ads on Fox News  and several other Republicans are waiting in the wings.

Should Mandel emerge victorious in the primary, he is expected to face a stiff challenge from Democrats who are eager to reassert themselves in a battleground state that has trended red in recent years.

The Ohio Republican already has $4 million in the bank from previous campaigns.

Along with its endorsement, Club for Growth rolled out internal polling indicating Mandel enters the primary field in a strong position, though it is still early in the race. 

According to the survey, conducted by WPA Intelligence in early February, Mandel leads the potential GOP primary field with 38 percent support among GOP primary voters. Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversTrump takes two punches from GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 MORE (R), who hasn’t yet launched a Senate campaign, trails in second, with 11 percent. Timken comes in third, with 6 percent.

Mandel also enters the race with significantly higher name ID than the rest of the field at 69 percent. Stivers comes in a distant second in that category, with 29 percent, followed by Timken, at 18 percent. 

The WPA Intelligence poll surveyed 509 likely GOP primary voters from Feb. 1 to 3 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.