Sherrod Brown is one of the more liberal members of Congress. The senior senator from Ohio is a strong supporter of unions and gay rights, and he was a leading voice in Washington to get the public option passed as part of the health care bill.
Yet in Ohio, the perennial battleground, Brown appears to be surging among voters amid his re-election campaign, while President Obama hovers closer to earth with Mitt Romney.
A recent Quinnipiac poll reported that Brown had a 16-point lead over his opponent, Josh Mandel, the Republican state treasurer. A month earlier, that margin was only six points.
Obama topped Romney in the latest Quinnipiac survey in Ohio, too, but by less — 11 points.
One reason that Brown, 59, might be doing so well is that Mandel, 34, has had a rough run in a race that has gained some national attention. Notably, the fact-checking website Politifact has called out Mandel for a handful of statements it rated false — such as saying Brown “gave huge bonuses to executives,” and that Brown “cast the deciding vote on the government takeover of health care.” Mandel has also drawn scrutiny from the local media after it was reported that he gave inexperienced staff members from his 2010 campaign top jobs in the treasurer’s office.
And on Tuesday a photo of Mandel dressed in drag was leaked to a liberal website.
Despite all that, Mandel has stayed in the race with the help of conservative groups spending millions of dollars on advertising in the state.
The Ohio race is noteworthy because of Republicans’ desire to oust the liberal Brown and tip the state toward Romney in the presidential election. Joan McLean, an Ohio Wesleyan politics professor who helped get Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket with Walter Mondale in 1984, said that because of Brown’s familiarity in the state, it would be possible that he wins his race in November even if Obama loses there.
Where Brown succeeds and where Obama
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