Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio won re-election to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Josh Mandel in the costliest U.S. Senate race.
With the balance of the chamber at stake, the race attracted intense attention from outside groups. Brown said the $40 million spent against him was the most in any Senate contest.
“Today in Ohio, in the middle of America, the middle class won,” Brown said in Columbus last night. “We fought back against secretive, out-of-state forces that wanted to impose their will upon our state.”
Brown said today that the outcome should spur action in Washington to require more disclosure of campaign funding after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling paving the way for unlimited spending by unions and corporations, Brown said.
“We have to fix these awful kinds of campaign rules and, at the same time, a message to both sides that if you’re going to spend the money here, it’s probably not going to work,” Brown said at a press conference in Columbus.
Brown, 59, a former U.S. House member elected to the Senate in 2006, said he has focused on helping the middle class. He portrayed Mandel as a self-serving politician who supports “trickle down” economics.
During the campaign, Brown emphasized his backing of the 2009 U.S. bailout of the auto industry, which Mandel opposed. Ohio has the second-highest total automotive industry employment after Michigan, with almost 850,000 jobs from manufacturing, parts and dealers, according to an April 2010 report by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Mandel, the 35-year-old state treasurer and U.S. Marine who joked in speeches that he hopes to be shaving when he’s 36, portrayed Brown as a “ultraliberal hyperpartisan” who has stayed too long in a Congress that needs change.
“While we came up a little short of victory in this fight that many called a David vs. Goliath endeavor, I’m proud of the campaign we ran and the team we put together,” Mandel said in an e-mail to supporters.
Outside groups began airing television ads in the race last November and continued through Election Day. They included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit group founded with help from Republican strategist Karl Rove, as well as the Washington-based Majority PAC, which supports Democratic senators and candidates.