Andrew Keller / Lantern photographer
“Do they still have BuckID(s) here?” Republican U.S. Senate candidate and Ohio State alum Josh Mandel asked when he visited campus Wednesday night.
With Election Day less than two weeks away, Mandel’s visit marks the first time a major Republican candidate has visited campus since Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s Sept. 1 visit to Ohio Stadium.
“It was important for me to come because this is my alma mater,” Mandel said, looking to usher in a “new generation of leadership in Washington.”
Mandel is a former two-term Undergraduate Student Government president and current State of Ohio Treasurer. He was first elected as a House Rep. for the 17th Ohio District in 2006 and was re-elected in 2008.
Nicole Williams, second-year in international studies and USG member, attended the event as an undecided voter.
“As far as voting goes, I still don’t know,” Williams said. “I’m here to learn more.”
During the 40-minute event Mandel addressed what he believes are key issues in the upcoming election: job creation, sustainable energy, fiscal responsibility and change in Washington.
“Those of you with older brothers and sisters probably hear the stories of folks graduating from Ohio State, OU (Ohio University), Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green (State University) and they can’t find jobs and that’s not how it’s supposed to be in this country,” Mandel said.
Michael Flannagan, communications director for OSU College Democrats, said Mandel “does not have students’ best interest in mind.”
“(Democratic Sen. seeking re-election) Sherrod Brown fought to have a deal that would prevent our interest loans from doubling and he supported adding more funds to the Pell Grant program,” Flannagan said.
While Mandel said he believes making college more affordable is important, he said ensuring students have a job after college is even more important.
According to an Oct. 23 Rasmussen Report, Brown is in the lead with 48 percent of the vote to Mandel’s 44 percent.
Despite this report, Niraj Antani, communications director for OSU College Republicans, said he believes Mandel will be Ohio’s next senator.
“I think Ohio being the battleground of battlegrounds is always going to be a tight race, but I think Josh can pull off the win,” Antani said.
The event marked the first in the USG speaker series, and there are plans to co-sponsor an event with OSU College Democrats, however details are not finalized at this time.
Mandel said he was “pleasantly surprised” at the number of people who came out and the mix of both Republicans and Democrats.
“Our No. 1 priority is not about partisan leaning, it is about educating the student body,” said USG President Taylor Stepp.
Brown made a visit to the Wexner Medical Center around 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon where he spoke to a group of construction workers about the Medical Center expansion project that stems from money provided through the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation.