Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R.) on Friday ended his 2018 bid for the U.S. Senate, citing his wife's health problems as the reason for his decision.
"We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention, and presence. In other words, I need to be there," Mandel said in a statement.
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"Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign," he added.
Mandel, who had been considered the Republican frontrunner in the race, was vying for the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. He gave credit to the senator for "having the passion to advocate for his beliefs."
The former candidate said he would continue to serve out the remainder of his term as treasurer.
The Ohio Republican Party said it was "saddened to see him leave the race," but called it an "honorable decision."
"Josh Mandel has made an honorable decision to be with his family in a time of need," the party said in a statement. "While we are saddened to see him leave the race, we understand, and offer our thoughts and prayers to his family."
"Our focus is, and will continue to be, on electing Republicans statewide and continuing to make Ohio stronger."
Mandel was previously endorsed by a slate of heavyweight senators, including Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and home state Sen. Rob Portman. His decision to leave the race leaves businessman Mike Gibbons as the leading challenger in the field.
Mandel's full statement:
Friends & Family,
Over a year ago, I launched a campaign for US Senate to make our state and country a better place for my children and yours. Since then, we’ve built a campaign that has us on a path to defeating Sherrod Brown this November. We’ve led him in every public poll and we’ve been the top fundraising Republican challenger in the country.
That being said, I was raised to believe that family always comes first. I still remember the first two words of advice my father gave me when Ilana and I had our first child: "Be there." These were the same two words his father told him when I was born.
We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence. In other words, I need to be there.
Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign. For as long as that takes, whether it is months or years, it is important that I heed my dad’s advice and be there for my wife and our kids.
After recent discussions with our family and healthcare professionals, it has become clear to us that it’s no longer possible for me to be away from home and on the campaign trail for the time needed to run a US Senate race.
Therefore, I’m writing today to let you know that I am ending my campaign for US Senate in order to be there for my wife and our three children. This was a difficult decision for us, but it’s the right one.
While unexpected, I accept that this changeof course is what God has in store for our family at this time. As we read in the Book of Proverbs, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it’s God’s purpose that prevails."
The issues facing our country are profound and I believe we had a voice and perspective better than the current one in the office. At the same time, I think it’s important to acknowledge the respect I have for Senator Brown for having the passion to advocate for his beliefs and, as Teddy Roosevelt once aptly said, the courage to be "The Man in the Arena."
I will continue to serve out the remainder of my term as State Treasurer and hope to have the opportunity to serve my state and country again in the future. But in the meantime, I must put my family first. I’m grateful for your understanding.