Ohio Republican Josh Mandel announced Friday he’s dropping a Senate bid to care for his wife, who is facing an unexpected health issue.
Mandel was the leading candidate to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in November, and his decision leaves Republicans looking to hold onto a Senate majority in 2018 without a top-tier candidate for the race. He had previously run against Brown and lost, but was expected to run a tough race against Brown in a state Trump won easily in 2016.
Mandel, currently Ohio state treasurer, said in a letter to supporters announcing his decision that his wife’s health makes the run impossible to continue.
“We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence,” he wrote. “In other words, I need to be there. Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign.”
“For as long as that takes, whether it is months or years, it is important that I heed my dad’s advice and be there for my wife and our kids,” he continued. “After recent discussions with our family and healthcare professionals, it has become clear to us that it’s no longer possible for me to be away from home and on the campaign trail for the time needed to run a US Senate race.”
“This was a difficult decision for us, but it was the right one,” he added.
— Ben Kamisar (@bkamisar) January 5, 2018
Two other Republican candidates who have never held office are vying for Brown’ seat — businessman Mike Gibbons and businesswoman Melissa Ackison. Others could join the race if they move quickly before the February 7 filing deadline. GOP operatives suggested some possible contenders to the press Friday, including retiring Ohio Reps. Dave Joyce and Pat Tiberi, and three Republicans now running for governor — Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, former Sen. Mike DeWine, and Rep. Jim Renacci.
A strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich told BuzzFeed the failed 2016 presidential candidate will not run, when asked about the possibility Friday. “He could, but isn’t,” the strategist said. “And won’t.”