SUNBURY — U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel gave a speech at the Delaware County Republican Central Committee meeting in Northgate Church on Thursday night.
Mandel said he wouldn’t give a standard political speech but would instead talk about his family’s background, which he said was shaped by courageous Christians and by the debt of military service.
“Ladies and gents, we’re in a fight to save our country,” he said. “America wasn’t founded on Muslim values; America wasn’t founded on atheism. America was founded on a bedrock of Judeo-Christian values. … We’re in a fight against a lot of evil, globally, but also domestically.”
Mandel said the schools today “are trying to teach kids to be ashamed to be Americans” through Critical Race Theory; “they’re trying to teach our kids there are over 50 genders, five-zero;” expressed concern about the fairness of a male who calls himself a female can compete against women athletically (“On Monday his name is Billy, on Tuesday it’s Bonnie”); and related an anecdote he heard about an Akron pediatric nurse and mother-to-be who was told by her hospital employer “you can either have the vaccine, or you’re gonna be fired.”
“You don’t hear enough Republicans talking about this,” he added. “We’ve got to go on offense. This whole debate — the media wants to have a debate; Democrats want to have a debate about pro-vax versus anti-vax. This isn’t a debate about pro-vax versus anti-vax. This is about pro-freedom or anti-freedom!”
There was applause from the audience, most of whom were not wearing masks inside the church.
“If someone wants to have a vaccine or wear a mask, or wear multiple masks, they’re free to do that,” Mandel continued. “But if someone doesn’t, especially if we don’t want our children to, who the heck is the government to come in and tell me that my child has to have a vaccine or has to wear a mask? It’s none of the government’s business.”
Mandel said he’s glad the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration’s vaccination requirement for businesses that employ more than 100 people.
“Joe Biden, he thought he was a king. Turns out he’s a president, and there’s a difference,” Mandel said.
Mandel said none of these issues matter if we’re not going to protect life “from conception to actual death,” and discussed his pro-life background. He asked, “Are we going to stand for our Second Amendment rights, because the Second Amendment empowers all the others? Some of you might not like me saying this: It’s not about electing Republicans — it’s about electing the right kind of Republicans.”
He said the primary presents a stark choice. As for his opposition, Mandel said “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance is a never-Trumper who said he would vote for Hillary Clinton; while Jane Timken supported Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
“Ladies and gents, we’re in a fight for the soul of the Republican party, the soul of the Conservative movement,” Mandel said.
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran said he is a fighter who is pro-Constitution, pro-liberty and pro-Trump. He said he’s been in that “smoke-filled room” in Columbus and taken on the likes of former Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans who couldn’t push him around.
“Ladies and gents, I am going to Washington to be freakin’ reinforcements for fighters like Jim Jordan, Rand Paul, Donald Trump,” Mandel said. “If you like Jim Jordan, if you like Rand Paul, if you like Ted Cruz, if you like Donald Trump, I’m your guy.”
Jordan represents the 4th Congressional District in Ohio, which under the new congressional district map contains Delaware County. The map, however, has been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. Mandel said he likes Jordan’s book, “Do What You Said You Would Do.”
The former two-term Ohio treasurer said he’s the only Republican candidate who can’t afford to run television ads, yet he would win with the support of people like those who were in the room. Mandel said he’s currently leading in all the polls for the May primary.
Mandel said if elected, he will go to Washington with two documents as his guide: “with a Bible in one hand, and the Constitution in the other.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.