Swing state resistance: Sen. Sherrod Brown blows past fundraising records in Ohio
The Senate map in 2018 poses a massive challenge for Democrats, who have to defend 24 seats to Republicans’ 10. But already, one Democratic senator is building up a huge war chest to fight off a GOP challenge.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is reporting a fundraising haul of $2.4 million in the first quarter of 2017 — the largest amount he has ever raised outside an election year. He now has $5 million on hand in total — a testament to his wholehearted embrace of the resistance and his high profile in the fight against Donald Trump. ...
His likely Republican opponent will be Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel, a Tea Partier who is already recruiting for his campaign. Mandel also ran against Brown in 2012, during which he bombarded the airwaves with a series of ridiculous lies, including claims that Brown was urging protestors to defecate on cop cars, that Brown was one of the “main” people responsible for outsourcing, and that the Affordable Care Act “will likely go down as the biggest tax increase in history.”
Despite outspending Brown by $5 million, Mandel lost that election by six points. This time around, Mandel is off to an even rockier start, with his super PAC raising only $320,000 and questions arising about his unusual financial partnership with Tea Party organizer FreedomWorks PAC.
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Ohio’s very high-stakes, under-the-radar Senate race, explained
If Democrats have any hope of keeping Ohio competitive and rebuilding the Midwestern blue wall that fell to Donald Trump in 2016, Sherrod Brown needs to win reelection this fall.
“The worry for Brown is that the state has taken a turn toward the Republicans and won’t turn back,” Kyle Kondik, part of the University of Virginia’s Crystal Ball team who quite literally wrote the book on Ohio, told me. “If Brown loses, it’s hard to see how Democrats can really contest the state in 2020 — in fact, they likely wouldn’t even try.”
Ohio swung dramatically toward Republicans in 2016: After President Obama won by 3 percentage points in 2012, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 8 points. Brown is currently the only Democrat holding statewide elected office in the Buckeye State.
The two-term senator, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, remains popular in Ohio and might have the right kind of populist persona to play well in this newly minted Trump Country. Brown is still considered a slight favorite to win this November: The UVA Crystal Ball rates the race “Lean Democrat,” as does the Cook Political Report.
The Ohio Senate race is still taking shape after seeing a dramatic shake-up on the Republican side this month. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, whom Brown defeated by six points in 2012 and the expected favorite to win the Republican nomination again, withdrew from the race, citing family reasons.