Why Did Josh Mandel Go to Someone Even Less Likable Than Himself for a Senate Primary Endorsement?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News AM, when I came across this item.

Well, he doesn’t have Donald Trump’s endorsement, but Josh Mandel has a new spot with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who urges Ohio voters to send the former Buckeye State treasurer to the Senate. Mandel is seeking the GOP nomination for the Ohio Senate seat. The spot is running statewide.

Wait, what? 

Josh Mandel, a candidate too creepy for Trump, went to Ted Cruz, a politician too creepy for his entire life, for an endorsement?

How does that work, Doc?

– Buckeyed

Dear Buckeyed,

First, let’s establish the mala fides of the fulsome twosome: Here are the search results for Josh Mandel gutter and the search results for Ted Cruz hated.

As for the despicable in support of the deplorable . . .

You might ask, why would Mandel tout an endorsement from a universally reviled politician? This Associated Press piece by Jill Colvin and Julie Carr Smyth might provide a clue.

Josh Mandel runs Ohio GOP Senate campaign ‘through churches’

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (AP) — Before digging into his six-egg omelet at a bustling northeast Ohio diner, Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel stopped to bow his head.

“Bless our food, our time, our conversation, in Jesus’ name,” said Pastor J.C. Church, who joined Mandel after a campaign event at a local church. ”Amen.”

The scene encapsulated Mandel’s campaign strategy as he competes in a crowded field of Republican contenders ahead of Ohio’s May 3 primary. He is a Jewish candidate who makes no secret of his faith, but who is centering his campaign around evangelical churches as he tries to win over religious, conservative voters.

(A six-egg omelet? If that’s not the Christiaan Barnard Special, the Doc doesn’t know what is.)

There’s no doubt Cruz is popular with evangelicals, but Mandel might want to consider a little Cruz control after the Texas solon attacked a high-profile opponent of Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill on his latest podcast, as the redoubtable Bess Levin detailed in Vanity Fair.

Senator Ted Cruz . . . recently suggested that because Disney decided to speak out against the bigoted Florida legislation—after receiving backlash from its employees for initially refusing to do so—it’s obviously going to introduce NC-17 story lines to its children’s programming.

In an extremely weird set of remarks, even for him, the Texas lawmaker opined at a live recording of his podcast, Verdict With Ted Cruz: “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that.

And that’s not even Mandel’s biggest problem. The Cruz endorsement clearly falls within the knife-to-a-gunfight category, as this new spot from opponent JD Vance illustrates.

Donald Trump’s endorsement has helped Vance reopen the money spigots from his sugar daddy, Peter Thiel – the tech  billionaire who bankrolled Vance early, then ghosted him – as Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported.

Vance parlays Trump endorsement into new Thiel money

Ohio Republican J.D. Vance is cashing in on his endorsement from former President Donald Trump with a major new super PAC donation from billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel.

Thiel has donated $3.5 million to Protect Ohio Values, the super PAC backing Vance, according to a person familiar with the contribution — part of a broader tranche of money that has come in to support the Senate candidate after last week’s Trump endorsement, which shook up a crowded and competitive race for the GOP nomination.

(For those of you keeping score at home, both Vance and Mandel have felt compelled to run ads proclaiming “I’m not a racist,” which pretty much speaks for itself. A third candidate – Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons – conveniently rounds out the primary’s racism trifecta.)

Here’s where the race stood, according to Real Clear Politics, as of April 14th.

We’ll soon see if a Trump endorsement is the right prescription for getting JD Vance over the hump. The Ohio primary is May 3rd.

What’s With the ‘MAGA Mom’ (and Kids) Wielding Rifles in Her Campaign Ad?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Jim Swift’s Overtime newsletter in The Bulwark when I came across this note: “The strange thing about Dr. Oz… Stu Stevens on GOP ads.”

The link took me to a YouTube video that features former Obama comms guy Dan Pfeiffer interviewing veteran GOP media guru Stuart Stevens about some current campaign commercials from Republican candidates for federal office.

To be honest, Doc, I never got to the Mr. Oz spot (hey, right now he’s just a U.S. Senate wannabe in Pennsylvania, not a practicing physician) because I was stopped in my tracks by the ad for Mallory Staples, the self-proclaimed MAGA Mom seeking a Georgia Congressional seat.

Here’s the image from the ad that almost made my head explode.

What’s the deal, Doc – has fondling a firearm now become the cover charge for being a viable GOP candidate?

– Shot and a Chooser

Dear Shot,

It sure seems that way, doesn’t it?

For starters, here’s the full Mallory Staples spot.

As you say, she’s not the only GOP gunsel flaunting a firearm. Less than a week ago the Doc detailed the Shootout at the GOP Corral that U.S. Senate hopeful Jim Lamon is running in Arizona.

And then there are the recent Christmas cards from GOP incumbents who represent the Family Firearms Wing of the Republican party. Start with Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie.

That got an Xmas shoutout from Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert and her gun-toting kids.

You can expect this arms race to heat up like machine-gun bacon.in the months to come.

Good luck ducking it.