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A GOP Senate candidate dropped out of the Ohio race -- but it might be good for the party

GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel dropped out of the Ohio race to attend to a family health issue. (Image source: The Columbus Dispatch video screenshot)

The GOP’s effort to gain some breathing room with its Senate majority took a hit Friday, as U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel dropped out of the Ohio race due to his wife’s health, according to USA Today.

Mandel was considered the frontrunner to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Why is he dropping out?

Mandel issued a press release explaining his decision. Here is an excerpt:

“We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence. In other words, I need to be there. 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.”

Who can replace him?

Some political experts don’t see this as a serious blow to the GOP because Mandel didn’t have much of a chance against Brown anyway. Rather, this could be an opportunity.

“Democrats, whether the state party or Sherrod Brown’s campaign, took it to him every single day,” said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate race analyst for the Cook Political Report. “And now that he’s out, Republicans might … be able to recruit a strong candidate who is more of a fresh face statewide.”

Mandel lost to Brown in the 2012 election.

Here are some potential candidates:

  • Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland banker who was already in the Republican field for the Senate seat
  • Republican gubernatorial candidates Rep. Jim Renacci and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
  • U.S. Rep Dave Joyce
  • J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy”
  • State Sen. Matt Huffman

There was initially some talk about Gov. John Kasich getting involved, but his political consultant John Weaver shut that down quickly, saying Kasich has “bigger fish to fry.”

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