To say that this election cycle has not gone according to plan for Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP is an understatement. With a large advantage over the Democrats this cycle (only 10 seats to defend against 23 for the Democrats), this looked like a golden opportunity to gain the four seats needed to make McConnell Majority Leader at last. And yet now, with Election Day looming, those dreams have all but turned to ashes, as seemingly nothing has gone right for the GOP's Senate hopes. From Olympia Snowe bailing to Richard Lugar's primary defeat to Todd Akin's idiocy to Tommy Thompson's ongoing implosion to Scott Brown deciding to ape Jesse Helms to the ongoing drag of Mitt Romney atop the ticket, it's been nothing but disaster after disaster for the Senate GOP. At this point, Mitch McConnell must be feeling like Job, wondering what else could go wrong.
Perhaps no Senate race has been more disappointing for the GOP, however, than the Ohio Senate race, where the opportunity to knock off proudly progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown practically had the GOP salivating (especially outside groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads, which have blown more than $10.5 million in attack ads and such against Brown). And yet Brown has proven all but bulletproof to their attacks, currently holding an 8.1% lead in TPM's Poll Tracker average. Certainly Brown's own strengths as a politician are a factor in his lead, as well as the sizable advantage President Obama holds in Ohio. But perhaps the biggest factor is the ongoing blunders and incompetence of his opponent, Josh Mandel.
For someone who was highly touted when he entered the race, the Ohio state treasurer and so-called boy wonder of the state GOP has turned into perhaps the most disappointing GOP candidate this cycle who hasn't uttered a comment about "legitimate rape." His campaign has been one misstep after another, including such gems as FBI investigations over suspect donations, accusations that he misclassified staff as freelancers during his 2010 run for state treasuer to dodge taxes and adapting an bizarre Southern accent for public events more suited to Foghorn Leghorn than a native of Ohio. And then of course there's the little matter that he looks all of 14 years old. (Perhaps voters don't want to vote for a candidate who looks like he still needs his mom to get into R-rated movies.)
Apparently, it's all getting too much for the Boy Blunder. Why else would he be behaving like this?
During his interview with The [Columbus] Dispatch, which included a brief walk from the treasurer's office to a deli on Broad Street and back, Mandel was followed by a political tracker from the American Bridge 21st Century political-action committee, which is dedicated to making video recordings of Republican candidates.Mandel has dodged and run from the media before, but this is the first time that he's ever physically tried to take their stuff. Watch the video of the footage here, where you also get this nice summation of the incident:
The tracker followed Mandel into a public elevator in the Rhodes Tower, where Mandel's treasurer's office is located. Mandel apporached the tracker, called him loudly by name, and at one point grabbed the monopod attached to the tracker's camera.
The tracker said "please don't," and Mandel relented, asking the tracker "how you been" and "good to see you."
After watching the video below, you will no longer have to wonder how Josh Mandel is handling the stress of this year's Senate campaign. The short answer: not well.And the state Democratic party is not giving him any relief, recently sending him a mock birthday gift in the form of a pair of khaki pants to celebrate the multiple "Pants on Fire" honors Politifact has granted him for his numerous fibs on the campaign trail. He declined it, saying he does not accept gifts. (Or does he?) This coming on the heels of a new Brown ad blasting Mandel for hiring staffers and cronies for the state treasurer's office after campaigning against such practices during his 2010 run. That'll raise his stress level even higher.
No, things certainly are not going well for Mandel. Indeed, his campaign can perhaps be the very model of the GOP Senate hopes this election year: Starting off with high hopes and expectations of victory and then slowly crumbling under the weight of miscues, scandals, blunders and poor polling.
Of course, there's still over a month until Election Day. But right now, things look grim. No wonder Mandel's kind of losing it.