Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican Jew, lost his Senate bid tonight to Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown, NBC is reporting .
Mandel was never a favorite, but Republican strategists saw the contest as winnable, and poured millions into the effort. A victory would have made him the only Republican Jew in the U.S. Senate.
Just 35 years old, Mandel looks even younger. He served with the Marines in Iraq, but started running for Senate almost as soon as he was elected state treasurer. His campaign raised $13 million, not far behind Brown’s $17 million.
One potential source of cash Mandel never got to tap were the Ratners, the wealthy family of Democratic real estate developers to whom he is related by marriage. A handful of Mandel’s prominent cousins published an ad in the Cleveland Jewish News slamming Mandel for his opposition to gay unions.
“We still remember the excitement surrounding your wedding,” the Ratners wrote. “So we were deeply saddened when you announced…that you believe only some people should share this right to marry the person they love,” they continued, ensuring years of awkward Passover seders.
Brown, for his part, received the endorsement of J Street PAC, the political action arm of the dovish pro-Israel lobby. A former president of AIPAC signed onto a newspaper ad paid for by Brown’s campaign
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.