Though 35, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s age is often underestimated by even his supporters. But on the campaign trail, the Senate hopeful has been attacking his 59-year-old opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, for his alleged immaturity. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
MARIETTA, Ohio — Many Ohio voters describe Josh Mandel as a “young” 35. His hairless chin and wiry frame means even his supporters underestimate his age by a decade.
“He looks 25,” said John Walsh, 72, a retired businessman loafing at the Skyline Café on a Friday afternoon.
“Earlier, you said he looked 19,” called out Steve Barros, the 55-year-old coffee shop owner, across the counter.
“It’s a good thing,” explained Walsh, a registered Republican. “You don’t have to be old to be smart.”
But the state treasurer’s youthful appearance hasn’t made it easier for him in his race against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). Image matters in politics, especially in a populous state such as Ohio, with 12 million residents. Most voters will never meet Mandel, but they will see his visage on television.