Ted Cruz Endorses GOP Senate Candidate Josh Mandel, Who’s Almost As Terrible As He Is
Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio just received Ted Cruz’s endorsement, which is highly coveted by at least a couple people who aren’t Ted Cruz.
The senator from Texas released this predictably annoying statement to the Washington Examiner:
As our nation faces crisis after crisis under Joe Biden, our country needs conservative fighters to stand up to the radical Democrats who want to exploit these problems to deliver socialism to America. That's why I am supporting Josh Mandel for US Senate.
Maybe Cruz is taking “conservative fighter” literally. During last month’s GOP debate, Mandel almost exchanged blows with rival candidate Mike Gibbons, but no one was actually slapped so Mandel went home without an Oscar.
Mandel, a former state treasurer and current aspiring theocrat, was once the clear frontrunner but he’s even started to creep out Ohio Republicans. Gibbons is polling slightly ahead of Mandel. He’s also adopted Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's campaign model. It’s less alienating to almost-normal Republican-leaning voters. Gibbons hurls all the approved culture war grenades but he’s not as overtly unhinged as Mandel.
Here’s what Gibbons tweeted yesterday about "critical race theory,” which is not an actual issue in Ohio schools. However, the benefit of identifying problems that don’t exist is that they’re usually pretty easy to solve.
Get critical race theory and the woke curriculum out of schools. Stop dividing kids by race. Teach math, science, English, history, and \u2013 how about this for a change \u2013 pride in America. \n\nI\u2019ll put parents first. #OHSenpic.twitter.com/FoldT8LdHc— Mike Gibbons (@Mike Gibbons) 1649012407
Get critical race theory and the woke curriculum out of schools. Stop dividing kids by race. Teach math, science, English, history, and – how about this for a change – pride in America. I’ll put parents first. #OHSen
Gibbons promises to “put parents first,” which proved a winning platform in the Virginia governor’s race.
PREVIOUSLY: Everybody Hates JD Vance
Ever the opportunist, Cruz declined to throw a life raft to fellow asshole JD Vance’s sinking campaign. Vance is holding steady in third place, and it didn’t help that he has consistently dismissed the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. He was yanked as keynote speaker at the Minnesota GOP’s appropriately scheduled April Fools’ Day fundraising event. Numerous Republican operatives objected to his presence because of what the Bulwark describes as "his ill-informed and callous (not to mention electorally stupid) comments about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene endorsed Vance in January, but it didn’t add any real juice. Greene boasts about having Donald Trump’s ear, so her endorsement seemed like an indication Trump might eventually back Vance. Trump reportedly considers Mandel a “charisma-free weirdo and dork,” because everyone has at least one correct opinion. He probably didn’t want to saddle himself with a sure loser like Vance.
It’s fitting that Cruz would announce his endorsement shortly after the media called out Mandel’s blatant lies about Gibbons. Mandel released an ad claiming that Gibbons said military service isn't "real work.” Obviously, no candidate would actually say something that aggressively stupid and offensive unless they were JD Vance.
The gross ad features Sheila Nowacki, the mother of a Marine who was killed in Iraq in 2005, who looks straight in the camera and urges people to vote for Mandel in the name of "God and country.” She then says:
Mike Gibbons has the nerve to say military service doesn't count as real work. Marines like Josh Mandel, like my son Andy, risked their lives for our country. Their work is so much more important than Gibbons just making millions for himself.
Here’s what actually happened: During the debate, Mandel tried to smear Gibbons based on his supposed “Chinese assets,” and Gibbons suggested that Mandel probably didn’t know what he was talking about because he’d never worked in the private sector. He didn’t say that military service wasn’t “real work.” This is a shameless lie truly worthy of Ted Cruz.
The GOP primary is scheduled for May 3. No one decent will win.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."