November 22, 2021

Happy Monday, and welcome to “Buckeye Brawl,” a weekly newsletter from the Ohio Democratic Party highlighting the nasty, chaotic and expensive Republican primary for Senate. This out-of-control primary is making conservatives “deeply worried” about the prospects of Republicans losing this seat.

As the Republican Senate primary continues to sink lower and lower, these GOP candidates are injecting even more nasty personal attacks, more chaos and more money into this race. We’re here to help you keep track of all of it.

This week, we are going to focus on Thursday’s forum since that’s where most of the nasty attacks happened. And a quick programming note: This Buckeye Brawl will have to hold you over for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday and remember: There’s no way your family’s Thanksgiving could possibly be messier than this primary.

Here’s what you may have missed:

ASPIRING CABLE TV STAR WITH EMPTY RHETORIC. Dolan tweeted that Ohio didn’t need a “bomb thrower or aspiring cable TV star with empty rhetoric.” That must hurt for Mandel and Vance. Dolan tweeted this on the same day as the GOP Senate forum in Strongsville, which Vance had to leave early from for a Fox News cable news hit. The writers couldn’t make this up!

RINOS CATER TO GAZILLIONAIRES. Responding to a question about why he kept the money from his 2018 campaign and why he didn’t help Renacci more, Mandel took a shot at the field, saying that RINOs (which he has called Timken and Vance) cater to gazillionaires. The gazillionaires attack from Mandel is one he said at his election lie rally earlier this month when Mandel said he’s running against “a bunch of millionaires and gazillionaires.” In her next question, Timken fired back at Mandel, saying, “Josh, I went to you and said, ‘Josh, I know you needed to drop out. But you need to help the rest of us…’ You know what Josh said to me? He didn’t hesitate, ‘No.’ When you need someone to stand up for you I did, Josh didn’t.” Folks, we still have six months to go and this is deeply personal and nasty.

BEEN IN POLITICS TOO LONG. When Vance was asked about his campaign benefiting from a large donation from Big Tech billionaire Peter Thiel and if he’s detached, Vance used his answer to attack Timken and Mandel. He said Mandel has “been running for office for a long time“ and Timken has “been in politics for a long time.” We think this is Vance’s response to Timken calling him a “Johnny-come-lately” to the Trump agenda, but hey they all are. And to be clear, Vance has been a political insider on the Republican think tank circuit for years so he isn’t excused from this either. This continues to be a theme in this crowded Republican Senate primary: phonies attacking each other for being phonies.

OUTRAGEOUS ATTENTION SEEKERS. In an interview with CNN’s Eva McKend, Timken sideswiped Mandel and Vance, saying, “You can’t win a race in Ohio on Twitter…Saying outrageous things to garner attention is not ow I’m going to run this race and not how I’m going to win this race.” She had a similar line of attack in an interview on The Bruce Hooley Show, where Jane Timken said, “I think they like the idea of being a senator. I think they like to talk a lot, but I don’t think they’re doers. Look, I’ve been fighting for the conservative cause, I’ve been in the trenches. I don’t know where they were.” It’s a similar line to what Timken said last week attacking Vance and Mandel, when she said, “We’ve got a lot of showboaters and show horses in this race. I’m a workhorse…” Well, both Mandel and Vance have based their campaigns around retweets, soundbites, outrage, and very little actual substance.

Thanks for reading along – that’s all for the Buckeye Brawl this week. If you have questions, my email is Have a great holiday!