Now that the 2014 election campaigns have been under way since the moment that President Obama was declared the winner, it seems reasonable to cast a glance at Josh Mandel in his new on-site role as Ohio treasurer. Having spent so much of his time on the road raising money and hell in a losing campaign for U.S. Senate, he says he is prepared to settle into his current office by running for reelection. Maybe so. But being impatient in his quest to extend his career to higher office, Josh can be expected to be at least quietly casting about for something more than state treasurer in the next couple of years. It should be recalled that nanoseconds after he was elected treasurer, he announced his plans to run for the senate.
But finding a promising new porthole for a career that by age 35 had already claimed three different upwardly mobile titles may be more difficult for this young Republican.
Of all the state offices, the treasurer’s job is the least visible as a launching pad. Mention the office to most voters, some of whom won’t even know who the governor is, and they would imagine it as a place where the green-visored boss sits around a desk crowded with penny wrappers. I don’t know of any Ohio governors or senators – Josh’s wishful targets – in modern times that sprang up from the treasurer’s office.
It’s doubtless true that some of same donors who reportedly dropped more than $43 million on his campaign will not be as easy to persuade to play high-stakes chuck-a-luck the second time around. Much of his conservative support was aimed at ridding the state of a liberal senator, Sherrod Brown, driven as they the torment of, “If not now, then when?
Well, not now. Mandel didn’t even carry his home precinct in Beachwood.
The earliest opening for a U.S. Senate seat would be in 2016 and Rob Portman, the current Republican incumbent is unlikely to step aside for Josh. The governor’s office isn’t promising either, with another Republican, rarin’-to-go-again John Kasich, ready to roll for 2014.
Rep. Steve LaTourette, who is retiring from his congressional seat, has dissected the corpse of Mandel’s failed senate campaign by concding that Mandel got “bad advice” that led him into the thrall of right-wing voters. “It’s the wrong position for Ohio,” LaTourette said.
On the other hand, Gerald Austin, a seasoned Democratic consultant and former campaign manager, told me that Mandel ran for the Senate with “”no resume – he had nothing to say.” For all of his money, Austin said, “he still lost.”
LaTourette says Mandel is a “great guy” with a starry political future. Austin merely says that at Mandel’s tender age, ”he’ll probably run another 20 times.”
If Austin is right, in a state that has spawned eight presidents, Mandel still has time. Oh, no!