Josh Mandel’s shifting voice

It’s Friday, so why not have some fun on the Plank. For a good laugh, check out this clip of Josh Mandel, the Ohio treasurer and Republican challenger to Sen. Sherrod Brown, speaking on Tuesday to several hundred coal miners in Beallsville, in the coal country of Appalachian southeastern Ohio, not far from Wheeling, W.V. Mandel, an exceedingly youthful-looking 34-year-old, grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, which, last I checked, is pretty much up north—on a lake that borders Canada. But I was at this Beallsville event, and noticed that Mandel’s accent was traveling south by about 100 miles a sentence, really kicking in around the 1:50 mark here. Mandel is hardly the first politician to take on adaptive coloring—Hillary Clinton got comically Southern at points in the 2008 primaries, and Barack Obama gets noticeably more vernacular when speaking to African-American audiences, particularly down South. Mandel has now joined this hallowed tradition.

Alec MacGillis — How To Talk To Reglar Folks In Real Amurka: Listening to Josh Mandel’s Fake Southern-Appalachian Accent

Can local journalism still hold politicians accountable?

Back in May, while reporting a cover story on the 2012 political landscape in Ohio, I decided to follow up on a article done last year by Toledo Blade reporter Tony Cook, noting the large number of donations from employees of a North Canton direct marketing company called Suarez Industries to Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel, who is challenging Sherrod Brown, and to Congressman Jim Renacci, who is running against Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton in a redistricted seat in northeast Ohio. It’s against the law for employers to reimburse their workers for political contributions, and I decided to look up some of the employees and ask them if that had happened in this case. It was while doing so—visiting decidedly modest homes whose owners had made $10,000 or even $20,000 worth of donations to the two campaigns—that I discovered that I was not the only one curious about the donations: the FBI had launched an inquiry as well. 

Soon after my article appeared, Mandel’s campaign announced that it was returning the contributions (this after Mandel himself had brushed off questions about the contributions in a comical videotaped interview where he replied to the queries by noting that he sends thank you cards to all his donors.) Mandel hardly needed the dough—outside groups have so far spent more than $10 million attacking Brown, far more than against any other Senate Democratic candidate. But Renacci held tight to the money—that is, until today.

Alec MacGillis — "Ohio GOP Candidates Return Sketchy Lucre"

Was the overturn of S.B. 5 in Ohio a pyrrhic victory for liberals?

"There’s no denying that last night was a pretty good night for liberals across the country—in MississippiMaine, and especially in Ohio, where voters restored public-sector collective bargaining rights. That was perhaps the night’s most high-profile win, but it wasn’t all good news from the Buckeye State: While voters rejected a right-wing push against unions, they supported one against the Affordable Care Act.”

- Nathan Pippenger “Last Night’s Bad News,” TNR’s The Study

Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Leader.