In his first formal sit-down television interview since losing a race for the U.S. Senate last November, State Treasurer Josh Mandel says he has no regrets.
"It's not the first time in my life I've been knocked on my butt, and it won't be the last time," Mandel said. "You dust yourself off, you learn, and you march on."
Mandel said in an interview to be aired on Capitol Square Sunday at 11 a.m. that if he had it do over, he would have spent more time campaigning in African American communities and churches.
"One thing I've thought about is the importance, not just for myself but in general the Republican Party, is to do a better job communicating with minority voters," said Mandel. "We need to spend time in African American neighborhoods and in areas with a lot of Hispanic voters as well. I believe the conservative message, and the message of our party, is one that should resonate with families in urban areas."
Mandel denies that he jumped too soon into the Senate race, claiming other Republican officials like Congressman Pat Tiberi and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor could have told him if they were running.
"There were a lot of folks that I recall who said ‘no,’" Mandel told Capitol Square’s Jim Heath. "I'm not sure why they decided to say no and decide not to run. That was their own personal decisions and I can't speculate on why they made those decisions."
When asked if being elected to the U.S. Senate is still his ultimate goal, and whether Sen. Rob Portman should expect a primary challenge from him in 2016, Mandel said no.
"Not from me, and frankly, I think Senator Portman is doing a good job leading our state," Mandel said.
While Mandel said Governor John Kasich's State of the State speech in February was "one of his best speeches I've heard him give," he strongly disagrees with portions of Kasich's budget proposal.
"My staff has been talking to his staff and I've talked to some of the people on his team," Mandel said. "I think we agree to disagree."
In particular, Mandel questions Kasich's decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio.
"I think one of the main concerns is that the money just doesn't exist to do this long term and the states going to be left holding the bag and the math just doesn't add up," Mandel said. "Not to mention Medicaid in general has not been a well-run program."
Mandel said he's running for reelection and isn't worried about state representative Connie Pillich, a possible Democratic challenger.
"I'm not really thinking about the campaign right now. I served in the legislature with her, but I don't know her that well," Mandel said.
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