Josh Mandel, former Ohio treasurer, hinted in a Jan. 25 statement he is considering running for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati.
“Senator Portman has served our nation with character, integrity and statesmanship,” Mandel said in a statement forwarded to the Cleveland Jewish News following a reporter’s telephone call to Mandel.
Portman announced Jan. 25 he would retire following the end of his term in 2022.
Scott Guthrie, who has served as Mandel’s campaign fundraiser, forwarded the statement from Mandel.
“My passion for service has never waned, from serving my community, to serving our state, to serving our country for two tours in Iraq,” Mandel said in the statement. “Any opportunity to continue that service is something I will consider very seriously.”
Guthrie identified himself as a friend of Mandel in a follow-up email.
If Mandel, a Republican, runs, it won’t be his first run for U.S. Senate. 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 wife, Ilana Shafran Mandel, as she was facing health issues. They have since divorced.
Guthrie told the CJN Mandel has $4.3 million in cash on hand left over from his U.S. Senate campaign of 2018.
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.
In addition, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two tours in Anbar Province in Iraq.
Mandel, 43, holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
According to his website, when he took office, 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.
He was recognized with the Association of Government Accountants award for Excellence in Financial Management, the American Society for Public Administration’s award for Integrity and Ethical Conduct in Public Service, and the State Financial Officers Foundation award for Transparency in Government.
Mandel was unable to run for re-election because the office is limited to two successive four-year terms in Ohio. He was the first Ohio treasurer to serve two full terms since Mary Ellen Withrow, a Democrat who held the office from 1983 to 1994. Term limits across the executive and legislative branches of Ohio government were established in 1992.
“I’m proud to finish the job strong,” Mandel told the CJN in January 2019. “And I think the staff in the office appreciates the stability along the way.”