With incumbent Republican Rob Portman retiring, no fewer than 13 Republicans are vying to come out on top in the May 3, 2022 GOP primary – and Republicans are expected to win the seat in the November 8 general election (see race ratings here, here, and here).
AFN talked with Tom Zawistowski, president of the Ohio-based We the People Convention, about the lead-up to the GOP primary.
"In the Senate race, it's a free for all," he began. "You've got lots of people spending lots of money. Jane Timken, who was the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, is running for the seat – she's not conservative at all. J.D. Vance [is] kind of a media darling, but he's not very conservative – he said a lot of bad things about President Trump. He claimed he's found the MAGA religion and we really don't believe him."
Zawistowski believes those two hopefuls – Timken and Vance – would split the majority of the moderate vote, giving conservative 44-year-old Josh Mandel (pictured), a former state treasurer, an opportunity to win.
"Josh Mandel has been a conservative icon in our state … [He] is a non-RINO, big-time Trump supporter," explained Zawistowski.
"He's going to have the least money of anyone in this race, but because there are so many people sending money that will be less of an issue," he continued. "We think Josh Mandel can win this – and that would be very good for us in the Senate because he is a really strong conservative."
In a recent poll of likely Republican primary voters, Mandel holds a commanding 24-point lead over Vance in the race for Portman's Senate seat; Mike Gibbons and Timken are a distant third and fourth place in that poll, respectively.
Mandel, an Iraqi War veteran, served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for eight years. He won the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012 but lost in the general election to incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown. The Iraqi veteran has been endorsed by the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, Ohio Value Voters, and conservative talk-show host Mark Levin.