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With less than a month to go until primary day in Ohio, one of the leading candidates in the competitive and contentious Republican Senate race landed a major endorsement.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Monday endorsed Josh Mandel, a U.S. Marine combat veteran and former Ohio treasurer who’s making his third bid for the Senate.
“As our nation faces crisis after crisis under Joe Biden, our country needs Conservative fighters to stand up to the radical Democrats who want to exploit these problems to deliver socialism to America. That’s why I am supporting Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate,” Cruz, who remains popular with many on the right across the country, wrote in a statement.
Pointing to Mandel’s two tours of duty in the war in Iraq, Cruz emphasized that “Josh is a proven fighter for our American way of life, a champion for the unborn, and a stalwart advocate for our religious liberties. I am proud to endorse Josh Mandel for U.S. Senate, and I ask every conservative in Ohio to do the same.”
Cruz becomes the third Republican in the Senate to support Mandel, following Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
“Having Senator Cruz’s support shows that he believes I am the only candidate in this U.S. Senate race who will have the backbone and courage to stand up alongside him in Washington and take on the party bosses, left-wing media, and powerful lobbyists,” Mandel wrote in a statement. “When I get to the Senate, I look forward to serving as a reinforcement for Senator Cruz as we stand up to Joe Biden and work to defeat the far-left’s radical agenda.”
Mandel is one of eight GOP candidates running in the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman. The crowded and heated primary field also includes 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland entrepreneur, real estate developer and investment banker; venture capitalist and bestselling author J.D. Vance; former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken; and state Sen. Matt Dolan, a former county and state prosecutor whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians.
Gibbons has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who, like Cruz, is also influential with many conservatives across the country. Vance has been backed by Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, another conservative firebrand.
Timken was endorsed earlier this year by Portman. She also has the backing of Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of neighboring West Virginia, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
Former President Donald Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in Republican primaries and repeatedly teases another White House run in 2024, has remained neutral to date in the Ohio Senate primary.
A Fox News poll conducted March 2-6 – which is the most recent public opinion survey in the race – indicated Gibbons at 22% among like Republican primary voters, with Mandel at 20%, Vance at 11%, Timken at 9%, Dolan at 7%, and nearly a quarter of those surveyed undecided.
The winner of the May 3 Republican primary may face off against longtime Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, of northeastern Ohio.
Ryan is considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination in race that also includes progressive Morgan Harper, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior adviser and 2020 congressional candidate.