buckeye bucks

Josh Mandel continues to court pro-Israel community

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will be a 'special guest' at an upcoming fundraiser for the Ohio Senate candidate

Andrew Spear/Getty Images

Josh Mandel speaks at the FreedomWorks Forum for Ohio's Republican Senate Candidates on March 18, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

A range of prominent pro-Israel advocates will host a virtual fundraiser next month for Josh Mandel, a leading candidate in Ohio’s hotly contested Republican Senate primary, according to an invitation distributed by his campaign.

The Zoom event, scheduled for April 12, will include such hosts as Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus; Houston-based businessman and GOP donor Fred Zeidman; AIPAC lay leaders Howard Friedman and Michael Tuchin. David Friedman, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, is billed as a “special guest.” 

Friedman was also a guest last spring at a similar fundraising event for Mandel, a former Ohio state treasurer who is among five top-tier GOP candidates vying to succeed outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) in the May primary.

Portman, whom Mandel has described as a “mentor,” endorsed former Ohio state party chair Jane Timken in February. 

Appearing recently on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Mandel, 44, argued that Timken “is running the total establishment campaign. I’d say most of the political establishment in Washington, most of the political establishment in Ohio, is behind Jane.” 

He added: “I’ve been anti-establishment my whole career.”

Mandel began the new year with nearly $6 million on hand but has struggled to keep up with other well-heeled contenders such as Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, who has personally loaned his campaign more than $11 million.

During a debate last Friday, Mandel and Gibbons exchanged insults in a heated, near-physical confrontation that drew national attention.