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Controversial Ohio senatorial candidate Josh Mandel, a 44-year-old Iraq War veteran, has once again made headlines, this time for getting in the face of a white-haired, older challenger during a primary debate Friday.
The debate went off the rails, which always seems to happen whenever Mandel’s present, after he accused primary challenger Mike Gibbons, reportedly an investment banker, of profiting from Chinese petro stocks.
“You made millions off it, sir,” he said as Gibbons was walking along the stage.
“I don’t think I made millions off of anything. I’d love to have made millions off of Chinese petro,” Gibbons quipped in response.
Mandel then proceeded to list off the names of several Chinese petro stocks, prompting Gibbons to say, “You may not understand this because you’ve never been in the fight.”
Those were apparently fighting words, because Mandel jumped up from his seat, got in Gibbon’s face and calmly replied, “I fully do.”
FYI, Gibbons’ campaign website says he was 37 years old in 1989. This means he’s currently either 69 or 70, depending on the month and day of his birthday.
“No, you don’t,” Gibbons said.
“I do,” Mandel doubled down.
“You’ve never been in the private sector in your entire life,” Gibbons asserted.
This remark greatly angered Mandel.
“I’ve worked, sir! Two tours in Iraq! Don’t tell me I haven’t worked!” he shouted in Gibbon’s face as he began crowding him.
“You don’t know squat,” Gibbons replied.
“Two tours in Iraq! Don’t tell me I haven’t worked!” Mandel replied as he pushed closer to Gibbons.
“Back off buddy, or you’re …,” Gibbons could be heard saying before Mandel’s louder voice overpowered him.
“You back off!”
“Oh hoh, never will that happen!” Gibbons replied, growing angry himself.
“Watch. Watch. You’re dealing with the wrong guy. You watch what happens,” Mandel replied as the clip cut off.
As he was speaking, the word “p—y” could be heard, though it’s unclear if it came from Mandel.
The assumption among most people, including even disgraced Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson, is that Mandel was the one who’d uttered the word (*Language warning):
Josh Mandel calling anyone, anywhere a “pussy” just proves we live in the best timeline.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 18, 2022
I don’t know about you, but if Josh Mandel called me a pussy, I’d have to kick his ass. Him calling ANYONE that is destroying irony, comedy and projection all at once.
— Randy (@RandyBack4More) March 19, 2022
And yes, Josh Mandel called Mike Gibbons a ‘pussy’ at the end of his tirade.
Ohio, you can have this or you can have Tim Ryan.
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) March 18, 2022
Says the guy who can’t handle being told the truth.
I’m sure Jesus would respond to being told he’d never worked in the private sector by threatening an old man and calling him a pussy. Fucking trash. Try that on someone else and see what happens.
— Grim Riffer (@Riffer_Grim) March 19, 2022
Mandel eventually sat down and the debate continued. But shortly later in the debate, another challenger, J.D. Vance, the author of the award-winning book “Hillbilly Elegy,” got up to address Mandel’s behavior.
“I just gotta comment on what we just saw. Look, as the only other person who’s served his country in uniform. I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. My grandma had six children. Three of them enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I think the way you use the U.S. Marine Corps, Josh, is disgraceful,” he said.
This prompted loud applause.
“Think about what you just saw. This guy wants to be a U.S. senator and he’s up here, ‘Hold me back, hold me back, I got two tours in the Marine Corps!’ What a joke! Answer the question. Stop playing around,” Vance then added.
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) March 19, 2022
Mandel has inspired controversy throughout his 2022 campaign.
Late last month he delivered a CPAC speech calling Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger “traitors” for their work on the Jan. 6th committee, and suggesting that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from former President Donald Trump.
Days before that speech, he sparred with another debate challenger, this one a Democrat, claiming that she, Morgan Harper, was “dumber” than notoriously childlike Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
He also sparred with an audience member, though to be fair to Mandel, the audience member had called for him to be removed from the debate and the building itself because of the color of his skin:
GOP candidate John Mandel, a Marine vet, has EPIC response to racial hatred in wild Ohio Senate debate https://t.co/VzsTUFpkyy
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) February 23, 2022
Polling averages maintained by RealClearPolitics show Gibbons leading Mandel in the Ohio Senate Republican primary by an average of 1.3 percentage points. Vance and other candidates meanwhile are trailing far behind.
Despite his volatile demeanor, Mandel continues to perform fairly well because of his pro-Trump bonafides.
As previously reported, he’s described himself as a “pro-God, pro-Gun, pro-Trump” candidate and vowed to “make decisions with the Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other.”
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