Marine, Jew and Republican Senator?

September 17, 2011 9:14 pm 6 comments

Josh Mandel

Living and working inside the Washington beltway affords me the opportunity to meet a broad mix of interesting people. A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a meet-and-greet for Josh Mandel, a Republican hopeful for the Ohio Senate seat. To my pleasant surprise, the event was not another run-of-the-mill DC fundraiser, but rather an opportunity for Mandel, a Jewish Republican, to meet some of the more active Jewish Republicans in the DC area.

When I first met Josh, I thought I was looking at a Congressional Intern, as he is 33 years old and looks considerably younger. However, Josh’s youthful façade belies an incredibly compelling and a surprisingly expansive professional and personal story, one that is deeply rooted in his Jewish identity and his passion to serve his state and his country.

In Josh’s subsequent phone interview with The Algemeiner we discussed his motivation for his US Senate bid, his experience as a Jewish combat veteran, and why he would be a better Senator than the incumbent, Sherrod Brown, among other issues.

Josh’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors, who lost most of their loved ones at the hands of the Nazis. On the other side of his family, his grandfather was born and raised in America and instilled a respect for military service in Josh. In addition, his grandmother and her three siblings were hidden in Torino, Italy during the Holocaust by a Christian family. This is, in part, why Josh believes the pro-Israel population should actively welcome the Christian community’s robust support.

His family history inspired him to enlist in the Marine Corps where he served two tours of duty in Iraq. When President Bush announced the Surge campaign in 2007, Josh volunteered to return to Iraq, hoping to help rescue Operation Iraqi Freedom from possible failure. His unit was sent to the Iraqi/Syrian border where they worked to stop the flow of Syrian troops and arms into Iraq. To say Josh Mandel is aware of the security and cultural environment in the Middle East would be a vast understatement. In fact, he and his wife were married in Jerusalem under the cross-swords of US Marines.

Throughout our discussion, Josh continually stressed his lifelong commitment to serve the people of his home state of Ohio and how proud he is of his Midwestern roots. His commitment to service is reflected not only in his military service but also through his elected positions in Ohio state government.  At 33 years old Josh has already held the positions of City Councilman, State Legislature and State Treasurer.

We also discussed the nature of the Jewish voter in the United States. It is clear Josh feels his Democratic opponent is not a strong friend of Israel and does not deserve the support of voters who care about this issue. He referenced the backing Sherrod Brown has given to J-Street, even after most members of Congress began to distance themselves from the controversial organization. In fact, if one were to visit the J-Street website, one would see a formal endorsement of Senator Brown.  For those not familiar with J Street, it is an organization dedicated to changing the US/Israel relationship to make it more “balanced” and less pro-Israel.

I found myself encouraged listening to Josh, and I saw perhaps a glimmer of hope. Josh Mandel is no long shot. He has already raised more money than the incumbent Senator and is now being exposed to the entire state of Ohio and the broader Republican world. His fundraising efforts will only improve and his current 10+ point deficit will likely shrink fast. However, it is a long way until November 2012 and Josh will need all the support he can muster to knock off a Senator who is well known throughout the state. Nevertheless, with an anti-incumbent mood permeating the nation, Josh may very well pull it off.

6 Comments

  • Antonia Blake

    Josh Mandel has been endorsed by Conservative, Senator Jim DeMint. He is not just a “pretty face”, he is doing an outstanding job as State Treasurer, with the complete mess left behind by the Strickland Administration.
    His drive for seeking the office of U.S. Senator is generated from his deeply committed values to love, honor and uphold liberty and freedom. He has met the “tip of the sword” in battle and has not reliquished those treasured values, but gave every ounce,keeping the mission before himself at all times. We are very happy here in Ohio to have the opportunity to elect this brave, good and principled man to the U. S Sentate. As an Officer in the U. S. Army Nurse Corps. I am confident that his intentions are honorable and true. Ohio has a chance now, finally, to have a principled, conservative, one who will lead in our struggle to save our country in these difficult times.

  • J Street is partialy financed and influenced by the Saudis.http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2009/12/j-streets-saudi-connection.html .

  • The article is nice but Mr. Mandel has yet to take a firm stance in support of Israel. You may have gotten a “nice” impression of him but there is still a shadow surrounding his run. Mr. Gregory, Rusty Bliss, an airline captain and maybe even black sheep state senator Kevin Coughlin stand a better chance. All of the candidates will take aim at Mandel’s shady campaign ethics and it’s no lock, especially when his camp has stated that even a “loss to Brown” sets him up nicely down the road. NOT real nice.

  • warrencountyvoter

    Me and many voters in Warren county feel Josh Mandel is using the people of our great state as a stepping stone for his personal gain. Fundraising does not mean everything and the person with the most money does not always get elected. All of Josh Mandel’s endorsements are from people jumping on his fundraising band wagon. All his fundraising comes from his families contacts not because he is great. I have seen him speak and he did not impress me at all he seemed like just another republican pawn. I recently had a chance to hear Republican Eric LaMont Gregory also running for US Senate for the state of Ohio in 2012 speak and this man was impressive. He studied in Israel and speaks hebrew along with three other languages other than english. Look into him http://www.theoxfordscientist.com you will be very impressed. Let’s make sure we get the best man for the job not just the man with the most money!

    • Morgan Muchnick

      Thank you for the note and for taking the time to post a comment. Mr. Gregory does seem to be an impressive individual, regardless of his Hebrew skills. Whether good or bad, fundraising is a measure of political viability, which is why I discussed the issue in my piece. I would be happy to talk to Mr. Gregory as well if he is so inclined. I personally feel Josh has a very interesting story and as a writer, I enjoy telling interesting stories. Please feel free to have Mr. Gregory reach out to me at this site.

      Thanks again for your interest!

  • This is another superb article from Morgan Muchnick.
    He invariably gives the reader a fresh insight.
    Many thanks, Jack Segal

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