COLUMBUS — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel announced Friday that he is dropping out of the race.
In a letter to supporters, Mandel cited his wife Ilana’s undisclosed illness, which was recently diagnosed, as the reason for stepping aside, according to the release from Mandel.
Mandel, who lost to Sen. Sherrod Brown in the 2012 U.S. senate election, faced competition from Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons and Union County business owner Melissa Ackison in the upcoming GOP primary in May.
Mandel’s departure from the campaign trail now leaves the Ohio Republican Party scrambling to find a high-profile personality to replace him in the bid to unseat Brown in November. The filing deadline is Feb. 7.
Brown tweeted the following message after word of Mandel’s departure from the race became public: “At this time, we wish Josh, Ilana and their family the best of health. We hope for Ilana’s full and speedy recovery.”
Following is the letter that Mandel issued Friday, citing his reasons for leaving the race:
Friends & Family,
Over a year ago, I launched a campaign for US Senate to make our state and country a better place for my children and yours. Since then, we’ve built a campaign that has us on a path to defeating Sherrod Brown this November. We’ve led him in every public poll and we’ve been the top fundraising Republican challenger in the country.
That being said, 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.
We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence. In other words, I need to be there.
Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign. For as long as that takes, whether it is months or years, it is important that I heed my dad’s advice and be there for my wife and our kids.
After recent discussions with our family and healthcare professionals, it has become clear to us that it’s no longer possible for me to be away from home and on the campaign trail for the time needed to run a US Senate race.
Therefore, I’m writing today to let you know that I am ending my campaign for US Senate in order to be there for my wife and our three children. This was a difficult decision for us, but it’s the right one.
While unexpected, I accept that this change of course is what God has in store for our family at this time. As we read in the Book of Proverbs, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it’s God’s purpose that prevails.”
The issues facing our country are profound and I believe we had a voice and perspective better than the current one in the office. At the same time, I think it’s important to acknowledge the respect I have for Senator Brown for having the passion to advocate for his beliefs and, as Teddy Roosevelt once aptly said, the courage to be “The Man in the Arena.”
I will continue to serve out the remainder of my term as State Treasurer and hope to have the opportunity to serve my state and country again in the future. But in the meantime, I must put my family first. I’m grateful for your understanding.
Follow The Delaware Gazette on Twitter @delgazette. Like The Gazette on Facebook.