COLUMBUS, Ohio — “I am supporting Romney because Obama has been a disaster in helping the economy,” says Donald Saxon, 60, of Gallipolis. “We can’t stand even one more year of Obama.”
It turns out that Ohio is crucial in deciding who will win the presidency, but is equally crucial in Republican hopes to recapture the Senate. The Senate race here turns on just one question: How much government spending is enough?
Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown (right) is considered one of the most liberal members of the Senate, having backed billions in spending under President Obama. Republican challenger Mandel (left), who currently serves as state treasurer, claims to have ended 2011 with a $400,000 surplus in state coffers.
Brown’s voting record has given Mandel plenty of talking points: he supported Obamacare, the stimulus, and bailouts for banks and the auto industry. Since January 1993 — Brown’s first term as Congressman — the national debt has increased from $4.2 trillion to over $16 trillion. The fight over big money has, ironically, attracted big money, with both campaigns spending a combined $14 million directly and third parties are spending another $6.7 million.
Ohio is crucial to Republican hopes of retaking the Senate and is a battleground state in the race for the White House. But so far, Brown leads Mandel by eight points.