Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel announced Friday that he is dropping out of the race.
In a letter to supporters, Mandel cited his wife Ilana’s illness, which was recently diagnosed, as the reason for stepping aside.
A portion of the letter states: “We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence. … Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign. … 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. Therefore, I’m writing today to let you know that I am ending my campaign for US Senate in order to be there for my wife and our three children. This was a difficult decision for us, but it’s the right one.”
Mandel, 40, said he will complete his second term as state treasurer.
“Josh Mandel has made an honorable decision to be with his family in a time of need,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken. “While we are saddened to see him leave the race, we understand, and offer our thoughts and prayers to his family. Our focus is, and will continue to be, on electing Republicans statewide and continuing to make Ohio stronger.”
Mandel, who lost to Sen. Sherrod Brown in the 2012 U.S. senate election, faced competition from Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons and Marysville business owner Melissa Ackison in the upcoming GOP primary in May.
Brown tweeted the following message after word of Mandel’s departure from the race became public: “At this time, we wish Josh, Ilana and their family the best of health. We hope for Ilana’s full and speedy recovery.”
Gibbons posted the following message on his campaign Facebook page on Friday afternoon: “Our prayers go out to Josh, his wife and family. Diane and I are hoping for the very best for them. For months we have been laying the groundwork to defeat Sherrod Brown in November with one of the strongest grassroots organizations of any outsider in Ohio. I look forward to uniting Republicans to end Sherrod Brown’s political career.”
Ackison posted the following message Friday on her campaign Facebook page: “Most importantly, my family and I send our prayers to Josh Mandel and his family after hearing of his recent decision to withdraw from the Senate race. Regardless of your choice in a candidate or your political affiliation, we are all human beings who deserve to be treated with compassion and love during difficult times. I encourage all of my supporters to include the Mandel family on their prayer-chains and lift them up in prayer.”
Mandel’s departure from the campaign trail now leaves the Ohio Republican Party scrambling to find a high-profile personality to replace him in the bid to unseat Brown in November. The filing deadline is Feb. 7.
Spokesmen for U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi and Gov. John Kasich said Friday that neither GOP office-holder is planning to run for Senate. Tiberi is resigning from the House of Representatives to become head of the Ohio Business Roundtable. Kasich is serving out his second term as governor and it’s believed he may run for president again in 2020. Kasich strategist John Weaver tweeted Friday that the governor has “bigger fish to fry.”
Contact Andrew Carter at 740-413-0900. Follow him on Twitter @DelOhioEditor.