Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, earned a second term on Tuesday, defeating the youthful Republican state treasurer, Josh Mandel, in a race marked by a massive influx of outside spending. The Associated Press called the race with just 16 percent of precincts in the state reporting; Brown led Mandel at the time, 54 percent to 41 percent.
Outside groups spent tens of millions of dollars in the race, mostly to boost the 35-year-old Mandel in his bid to unseat Brown. But Democrats effectively attacked Mandel for missing numerous meetings as a state officeholder. Mandel was elected treasurer in 2010, and he began campaigning for Brown's Senate seat within his first year in that position, a fact which allowed Democrats' attacks on absenteeism to resonate.
Brown also hammered Mandel on Medicare and the bailout of the automobile industry, which Brown said saved thousands of jobs in the state. Mandel largely hewed to Mitt Romney's position on the plan, saying in a debate last month that he would not have voted for the package if he had been a senator at the time.
Brown has built a reputation as a liberal populist in his six years in the Senate. After defeating then-GOP Sen. Mike DeWine in the 2006 Democratic wave, his fortunes this year were largely tied to President Obama's in the battleground state as a result of outside spending that served to nationalize the race. For his part, Brown campaigned with Obama in the race's final days, appearing at an event Monday in Columbus that also featured musicians Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z.