Josh Mandel, who announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate Feb. 10, said he backs a unified Israel and denounced anti-Semitism.

Mandel, 43, named his two grandfathers – Holocaust survivor Josef Friedman and U.S. Army Air Corps veteran Harold Mandel – as role models, along with his drill sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served two tours of duty in Anbar Province, Iraq.

“I’m the candidate in a race who is going to Washington to pulverize the uni-party,” he told the Cleveland Jewish News Feb. 10.

He defined the uni-party as “the cabal of Democrats and Republicans who sound the same, stand for nothing and are more interested in cocktail party invitations than defending the Constitution.“

The Beachwood Republican named U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Rocky River, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich as part of that group. He criticized Gonzalez for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump and called Kasich “a fake Republican” for speaking at the Democratic National Convention in support of President Joe Biden’s candidacy.

He called U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R- Cincinnati, “a statesman and a friend.” Mandel would replace Portman in 2022 if he is successful.

Mandel has run twice for U.S. Senate, in addition to serving as Ohio treasurer.

He unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, in 2012 and ran briefly in a primary in 2018, dropping out to tend to his then-wife, Ilana, as she was facing health issues. The couple divorced last year.

Brown outpolled Mandel in the 2012 election garnering 2,762,766 votes to Mandel’s 2,435,744.

“We’re going to bring together Trump supporters, ideological conservatives and people who’ve never voted before to vote for the first time,” Mandel said. “I am a proud American, proud Marine vet and proud Zionist. The Jewish state of Israel is the only true friend that America has in the Middle East and I look forward to continuing my work with evangelical Christians and Jews to advance the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Mandel served as state treasurer from 2011 to 2019. He was also a two-term member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He started his political career as a Lyndhurst city councilman from 2004 to 2007.

According to his website, when he took office as treasurer, Ohio’s finances were ranked 43rd in the nation and the state faced an $8 billion budget hole. By the end of his first term, Ohio’s financial ranking had improved to seventh in the nation and the state had more than a $1 billion surplus.

As state treasurer, he followed his predecessors’ lead when it came to purchasing the full amount possible of Israel bonds. The amount the state was permitted to purchase rose from 1% to 2% in 2016. His office’s $52.8 million purchase in Israel bonds in 2018 increased the state’s holdings to $200 million – the first time any state has reached that figure in U.S. history, according to the treasurer’s office.

“Ilana and I choose to send our kids to (Fuchs) Mizrachi School (in Beachwood) because we want our children to grow up as proud Americans, proud Jews and proud Zionists,” he said.

His ex-wife has said she will support his candidacy in a statement.

“I look forward to doing whatever I can to help elect Josh to the U.S. Senate,” she said in the statement “He and I remain close friends and committed parents to our three children. A few years ago Josh sacrificed a career opportunity when our family needed him to be home with us full time. I’m happy that he once again has a chance to serve and I fully support him.”

Mandel, a member of Beachwood Kehilla, denounced the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel as anti-Semitic and vowed to be on “the pointy tip of the spear” to combat the BDS movement.

His top three priorities, he said, will be to advance the Trump America First agenda, including combating “economic cheating from China,” reopen America for natural gas and oil drilling, and reopen Ohio’s economy.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“As the grandson of two Holocaust survivors, I was raised at a kitchen table where Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism were top priorities and values,” Mandel said. “As United States senator, citizens across America and the world will see me vocally and forcefully fighting against anti-Semitism in every way, shape and form.”

In an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Mandel said on Feb. 10, “I strongly and fundamentally disagree with Gov. DeWine and (former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr.) Amy Acton’s handling of the COVID shutdowns. The fact that they shut down all these family-owned businesses and restaurants while they allowed conglomerates like Walmart and Target and Costco to stay open makes my blood boil.”

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