Even before the outside spending, the two Senate campaigns have raised a record-setting $25 million — $15 million for Brown and $10 million for Mandel. That's more than the entire amount spent in each of the state's last two Senate races.
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern credits Crossroads and other conservative groups with propping up Mandel.
"The only reason Josh Mandel's campaign is alive today is because Karl Rove continues to give it CPR," Redfern said.
Mandel called that "hogwash." He notes that ads against him also are being funded by outsiders, including the Service Employees International Union and the League of Conservation Voters. Majority PAC, an independent group supporting Democrats, has spent about $1.1 million.
Mandel is working against a tide of criticism — for breaking a promise to serve his four years as treasurer, giving jobs and raises to political operatives, and failing to attend meetings of an influential board he chairs for more than a year.
His office released a report this month saying his cost-cutting and streamlining initiatives led to a $1.6 million surplus during the most recent fiscal year.
Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio.
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