This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown, candidates for the 2012 Senate Elections in Ohio.

Sherrod Brown, a member of the Democratic party and the incumbent, beat Josh Mandel to win re-election to a second term.

Josh Mandel was then current Ohio state treasurer and the Republican nominee for the 2012 Ohio Senate elections. Prior to joining politics, he served in the Marine Corps for 8 years where he was awarded the achievement medal for "superior performance of his duties" on two occasions.

Comparison chart

Josh Mandel versus Sherrod Brown comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartJosh MandelSherrod Brown
  • current rating is 3.1/5
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(52 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.98/5
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(50 ratings)
Josh MandelSherrod Brown
Political Party Republican Democrat
Hometown Cleveland, Ohio Mansfield, Ohio
Date of birth September 27th 1977 November 9th 1952
Religion Judaism Lutheran
Budget Supports Balanced Budget Amendment Supports a five year spending freeze and a Balanced Budget Amendment.
Tax Policy Supports a simplified tax code with one or two tax brackets Supports raising taxes for those earning over $1 million
Social Security No clear stance Opposes cuts
Healthcare Opposes Obamacare Supports health care reform
Medicare No clear stance Opposes privatization
Abortion Opposes Supports legal abortion
Gay Rights Opposes gay marriage Supports gay marriage
Immigration No clear stance Opposes comprehensive reform. Supported building a secure fence along the Mexican border.
Education Supports parents’ choice in schools and wants to expand charter school Supports additional federal funding. Opposes vouchers for private schools
Energy Policy Supports energy independence and opposes irrational regulations on drilling and refining. Supports energy independence through clean, renewable sources.
Iran Considers threat to democracy Supports economic sanctions
Iraq Served two tours as a decorated United States Marine. Opposed military intervention
War on Drugs No clear stance No clear stance
Josh Mandel (Republican) and Sherrod Brown (Democrat)
Josh Mandel (Republican) and Sherrod Brown (Democrat)
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties

Early Life and Career

Josh Mandel was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned a BA in communications from the Ohio State University and a JD from Case Western Reserve University of Law. He served with the US Marine Corps Reserves for eight years and was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2006. He has been State Treasurer since 2010.

Sherrod Brown was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and gained a BA in Russian studies at Yale University in 1974. He earned both a Master of Public Administration and an MA in education from Ohio State University and taught at the university as well as serving as an Ohio State Representative between 1974 and 1982. He became Secretary of State in 1982 and was in the US House of Representatives from 1992 to 2006, when he became a U.S. Senator.

Differences in Economic Policy

Tax Policy

Josh Mandel supports a simplified tax code using only one or two brackets and eliminating most credits and exemptions. He wants to eliminate the estate tax. [1]

Sherrod Brown supports a tax increase for those earning over $1 million annually. He opposed making the Bush tax cuts permanent and voted against eliminating estate tax. [2]


Josh Mandel supports the Balanced Budget Amendment and making the federal government responsible for its spending. [3]

Sherrod Brown supports the Balanced Budget Amendment and a five-year freeze on federal spending. [4]

Social Security

Josh Mandel has not spoken about social security.

Sherrod Brown opposes any cuts or privatization of Social Security. [5]

Healthcare Policy

Josh Mandel opposes Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. He believes health insurance should be purchasable over state lines and that there should be more choice and competition in insurance and health care providers. [6]

Sherrod Brown supports the Affordable Care Act. He opposes any cuts to Medicare. [7]

Social Issues


Josh Mandel opposes legal abortion. [8]

Sherrod Brown supports legal abortion. [9]


Josh Mandel has not spoken about immigration issues.

Sherrod Brown opposes comprehensive immigration reform. He supports building a fence along the Mexican border, but he opposes reporting illegal immigrants who receive hospital treatment. [10]

Gay rights

Josh Mandel opposes gay marriage and does not want sexual orientation to be included in anti-discrimination bills. [11]

Sherrod Brown supports gay marriage and gay adoptions. [12]

Women’s Rights

Josh Mandel has not spoken about women’s rights.

Sherrod Brown wants to expand access to contraceptive services for low-income women and provide emergency contraception at hospitals for rape victims. [13]

Education Policy

Josh Mandel supports increased choice for parents when selecting schools and believes in using free market principles to improve education, including public, charter and private schools. [14]

Sherrod Brown supports increased federal funding for education. He opposed creating vouchers for private and religious schools. [15]

Energy Policy

Josh Mandel believes energy independence should be a national priority. He opposes federal barriers to drilling and refining oil and supports the Keystone Pipeline. [16]

Sherrod Brown supports energy independence through clean energy sources. He introduced the Program for Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development to encourage the development of the wind energy sector and is now spearheading a solar power initiative. [17]

Differences in Foreign Policy

Position on Iran

Josh Mandel declared Iran a threat to all democracies. [18]

Sherrod Brown supports economic sanctions against Iran until it ceases its nuclear program. [19]

Position of Iraq

Josh Mandel has not spoken about Iraq.

Sherrod Brown voted against military intervention in Iraq. [20]

Money spent on the race

The Mandel-Brown race is the most expensive in Ohio history; the candidates raised a combined total of over $25 million by July 2012.


The first debate between Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel was held on October 15, 2012.

The final debate was held on October 25. Analysis of the debate can be found on YouTube, DailyKos, NBC News and the New Yorker.

Mandel vs Brown in Opinion Polls

Sherrod Brown has maintained a small lead over Josh Mandel in opinion polls in Ohio.

Poll source Date(s) administered Sherrod Brown (D) Josh Mandel (R)
Public Policy Polling October 12–13, 2012 49% 42%
Rasmussen Reports October 10, 2012 47% 46%
NBC/WSJ/Marist Poll October 7–9, 2012 52% 41%
SurveyUSA October 5–8, 2012 42% 38%
Rasmussen Reports October 4, 2012 46% 46%
NBC/WSJ/Marist September 30–October 1, 2012 50% 41%
CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac September 18–24, 2012 50% 40%
Washington Post September 19–23, 2012 53% 41%
Gravis Marketing September 21–22, 2012 44% 43%
Fox News Poll September 16–18, 2012 47% 40%
Ohio Newspaper Organization September 13–18, 2012 52% 45%
Rasmussen Reports September 12, 2012 49% 41%
NBC/WSJ/Marist Poll September 9–11, 2012 49% 42%
Public Policy Polling September 7–9, 2012 48% 40%
Gravis Marketing September 7–8, 2012 47% 42%
Columbus Dispatch August 15–25, 2012 44% 44%
Ohio Poll August 16–21, 2012 48% 47%
Quinnipiac August 15–21, 2012 48% 45%
Rasmussen Reports August 13, 2012 44% 44%
Quinnipiac July 24–30, 2012 51% 39%
Magellan Strategies July 23–24, 2012 45% 38%
Rasmussen Reports July 18, 2012 46% 42%
Quinnipiac June 19–25, 2012 50% 34%
Public Policy Polling June 21-24, 2012 46% 39%
Rasmussen Reports May 29, 2012 47% 42%
NBC News/Marist May 17–20, 2012 51% 37%
Quinnipiac May 2–7, 2012 46% 40%
Public Policy Polling May 3–6, 2012 45% 37%
Rasmussen Reports April 18, 2012 44% 41%
Rasmussen Reports March 26, 2012 43% 43%
Quinnipiac March 20–26, 2012 46% 36%
NBC News/Marist February 29-March 2, 2012 47% 37%
Quinnipiac February 7–12, 2012 48% 35%
Rasmussen Reports February 8, 2012 44% 40%
Public Policy Polling January 28–29, 2012 47% 36%
Quinnipiac January 9–16, 2012 47% 32%
Public Policy Polling November 4–6, 2011 48% 35%
Quinnipiac October 17–23, 2011 49% 34%
Public Policy Polling October 13–16, 2011 48% 40%
Quinnipiac September 20–25, 2011 49% 36%
Public Policy Polling August 11–14, 2011 48% 33%
Quinnipiac July 12–18, 2011 49% 34%
Public Policy Polling May 19–22, 2011 48% 31%
Quinnipiac May 10–16, 2011 45% 31%
Public Policy Polling March 10–13, 2011 48% 32%


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