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Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel: Standing up for liberty, Trump America First agenda

Former state treasurer explains how his inspiration to run for public office came from his grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors.

Updated: May 16, 2021 - 10:47pm

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Josh Mandel, a GOP candidate from Ohio for U.S. Senate, is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and concentration camp liberators, and says he is paying back his debt to those who helped them by running for public office.

Mandel told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast on Friday about his grandparents and how they inspired him to join the Marines and stand for Judeo-Christian values. 

"My grandparents inspired me both into public service and also in the Marine Corps, he recalled. "My grandfather, Joe, was a Holocaust survivor, survived Auschwitz and multiple other camps — he lost his entire family there — and he was liberated by Allied troops.

"My grandmother, Fernanda, she was an Italian Jew, which was relatively uncommon. There were about 50,000 of them in Italy during World War II. And there was this network of courageous, Christian families that got together to save kids in their community. And so my grandmother was hidden and saved by an incredibly courageous Christian family.

"And at that same time ... my grandfather, Harold, from Cleveland, Ohio, was wearing the uniform of our great country of the United States Army Air Corps. And so when I was growing up here in the Cleveland area, it was hammered into me that ... I have two debts I have to pay back in this life: one was to this network of incredibly courageous Christian families who made it possible for me to be here today, made it possible for my kids, Gideon, Judah, and Rosie to be here today. And the second debt was to the United States of America and the United States military, brave men who paid the ultimate sacrifice in places like Normandy and Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima and, ultimately, liberated my grandfather, liberated Europe.

"And so my whole life has been lived off of paying back those debts, to this network of courageous Christians and to the U.S. military, and it's why I joined the Marine Corps. It's why I've served in public service here. It's why I'm running for the United States Senate. And it's why I've been such a warrior and pointy, tip-of-the-spear leader for religious liberty and religious freedom and the Judeo-Christian values on which America was founded and grew strong."

Mandel explained his record as Ohio State Treasurer and how he stood up to his fellow state Republican, Gov. John Kasich.

"I was the guy in Ohio who was taking on Kasich," he said.

"While my buddy, Jim Jordan, was in Washington taking on [former House Speaker John] Boehner and [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy and all these other guys," he continued, "I was in Ohio taking on the radical left, but also taking on Kasich.

"I figured out early on, while I was state treasurer and Kasich was governor, that he was just a squishy, establishment Republican, and really more like a Democrat. And I led the charge against him on when he was trying to do the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, when he was trying to raise taxes on small businesses. I defied him when he was trying to keep the finances of the state in the shadows. I took the state's checkbook and put it online … the whole premise was the taxpayers have a right to know how the tax money is being spent. And by shining some light on spending, I was just going to transfer the power from the politicians to the people."

Even though people have told him to be nice to fellow Republicans, "I'm not in politics to make friends," Mandel said. "I'm in politics to stand up for the Constitution, to stand up for our liberty as Americans, and to advance the Trump America First agenda. And I don't care who's in my way, I'm gonna fight them and run right through them."

Mandel described his personal beliefs and how those have influenced his campaign.

"Faith is at the centerpiece of my life," he said. "It's at the centerpiece of our campaign, as well. Instead of running our campaign through traditional Republican Party groups, we're actually running our campaign through churches. And we have pastors throughout the state of Ohio who have been posting me at their churches, and we're having old fashioned townhall meetings at churches. And that's the backbone of our campaign.

"A week or two ago, we were at Washington Heights Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio, over 300 patriots there. We were down at a church called Solid Rock Church in Lebanon, Ohio, between Dayton and Cincinnati, we had 500 patriots there."

Mandel said he thinks "the voters here, they see that I'm willing to be bold and out front about protecting the Judeo-Christian values on which America was founded, and grew strong — not radical Muslim values, not atheism — but Judeo-Christian values. And at the center of those Judeo-Christian values is the recognition of good versus evil, and our obligation to stand up for good and fight evil. And that's what I'll do as a United States Senator."

"And you know you watch a lot of these senators in both parties, they wring their hands, and they put their finger in the wind, you know, when it comes time to make tough decisions," he said. "But for me, like those tough decisions will be easy decisions, because I'll make decisions as a senator with two documents in hand: the Bible in one hand, and the Constitution in the other."