MARIETTA, Ohio — State Treasurer Josh Mandel's internal polling shows a statistically tied race with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and the Republican says he has a path to victory even if Mitt Romney doesn't win the crucial Buckeye State.
According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll taken Oct. 16-17, Mandel and Brown were virtually tied at 44 percent to 43 percent.
Most recent independent public polling shows Brown with a high single-digit lead, and Roll Call continues to rate this race as Leans Democratic. Republicans privately acknowledge Romney must win the Buckeye State for Mandel to succeed in toppling Brown.
But Mandel disputes that.
"While I believe he's going to win and I'm doing everything I can to help him, we believe we have a path to victory, whether or not he wins," Mandel said during an interview Friday on a downtown stoop in this river town bordering West Virginia.
Recent independent surveys show Romney closing in on President Barack Obama's single-digit lead in Ohio. But Brown has consistently polled a couple points ahead of the president.
On Saturday morning in Cincinnati, a confident Brown declared his re-election contest "wouldn't be a race" at all if outside groups didn't spend heavily on it this year. Brown estimated the outside spending in the Senate race as upwards of $24 million at a pancake breakfast for supporters at the National Association of Letter Carriers on the city's north side.
"I don't think any Senator in the country works as hard as I do on casework, and on convening groups of people to make our state better, to grow jobs," Brown said minutes later in an interview. "This suit I have on? Made in Cleveland, Ohio ... The only manufacturer Hugo Boss has in the United States. They just signed their second three-year contract. I perform in this job."
Mandel's poll surveyed 600 likely voters and had a margin of error of 4 points.