Republican and Cleveland native Josh Mandel has ended his campaign to replace Sherrod Brown as a member of the United States Senate, the Ohio Treasurer announced this afternoon.
In a written statement, Mandel claimed his wife Ilana has recently encountered a health issue "that will require [his] time, attention, and presence."
He further wrote:
I was raised to believe that family always comes first. I still remember the first two words of advice my father gave me when Ilana and I had our first child: “Be there.” These were the same two words his father told him when I was born.
Mandel stated his decision to leave the race came "after recent discussions with [his] family and healthcare professionals." He believes "it's no longer possible for [him] to be away from home and on the campaign trail for the time needed to run a US Senate race."
Mandel had been the runaway favorite to gain the Republican nomination and face the incumbent Brown in the general election, as he had done six years ago in a six-point defeat. Despite the impressive fundraising efforts, his campaign had also been marked by controversies, notably when he defended two men who pushed a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton known as "Pizzagate."
In a brief written statement, Sen. Brown's campaign wished "Josh, Ilana and their family the best of health. We hope for Ilana's full and speedy recovery.”
Mandel's departure from the race leave relative unknown businesspeople Melissa Ackison and Michael E. Gibbons as the only current Republicans vying for the Senate seat. State Senator Matt Huffman, of Lima, has also been rumored as a possible candidate.
Additionally, John Kasich's press secretary has unequivocally ruled out the Ohio Governor as a possibility.