Ohio Senate Republican Candidate Questions Favorite’s Jewish Faith

Ohio State Senate Republican candidate Mark Pukita is fending off a controversial campaign ad highlighting the fact that the race leader, Josh Mandel, is Jewish. Political reported Thursday.
Mandel, a far-right Republican, is currently considered the trailblazer in the race to replace outgoing state Sen. Rob Portman, who will not seek reelection.

Throughout his campaign, he has presented himself as a very pro-Judeo-Christian value.

“I am a: proud American. Proud Jew. Proud Marine. Proud Zionist, ”Mandel tweeted. “Everything Democrats Hate.”

But Pukita has taken Mandel’s Jewish faith as an opportunity to question his faith and sincerity in general in a radio ad, criticizing the favorite for visiting churches and trying to gain evangelical support, Politico reported.


“Are we seriously supposed to believe that the Senate candidate with the most Christian values ​​is a Jew?” asks a voice actor in Pukita’s radio ad, according to Politico. “I’m so sick of these fake cartoons.”

“I agree,” responds a woman in the ad, according to the report. “We keep picking people like this, but we will continue to get the same terrible results.”

The ad was viewed by many as anti-Semitic, and even resulted in Pukita being removed from a Center for Christian Virtue forum as a result, according to Politico.

In a debate Thursday night at North Columbus Baptist Church, Pukita, who is behind in the polls, defended these comments after being accused of being anti-Semitic and inflammatory.

“In terms of anti-Semitism, all I did in an ad was point out that Josh is saying he has the Bible in one hand and the constitution in the other. But he is Jewish,” Pukita said in the debate, according to Politico.

“Everyone should know that, right?”

The Bible is originally a Jewish religious text, known as the Torah. This constitutes what Christians have called the Old Testament.

Another Republican was quick to criticize Pukita for his announcement.

“Josh, no one should question your faith. That’s not correct, ”Republican candidate Bernie Moreno said in the debate, Politico reported. “In the Jewish religion, the Bible is the Bible. That was hard to hear. Sorry about that. That is not right. We’re better than that, guys. “

Mandel is considered a controversial figure by many Americans, including American Jews, for his far-right views. This is seen in his supposedly Islamophobic views and in his support for other far-right figures such as former US President Donald Trump and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Brad Kastan, a former Republican donor and leader of the Columbus Jewish community who has known Mandel since they were both leaders at Ohio State University Hillel claims that Mandel’s behavior changed after a second tour of Iraq in 2007.

“When Josh came back from Iraq, his second Iraq tour, I think his views on Judeo-Christian, on America and the threat of Islamic radicalism, Islamic terrorism, jihadism, whatever you want to call it, I think it was very, very informed by his tours in Iraq, “he said. “I don’t doubt his sincerity there.”

In 2012, a group of Mandel’s in-laws wrote a “what happened to Josh” letter to the Cleveland Jewish News, criticizing him for opposing the marriage rights of LGBTQ people.

“We still remember the excitement surrounding their wedding and how happy our family members were when they described it afterward,” said the nine relatives by marriage in the 2012 letter. “Your cousins, Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, are among the many wonderful couples whose rights you don’t recognize. It hurts us that you accept discrimination against them and countless other love partners.[s] in Ohio and across the country. “

Ron Kampeas / JTA contributed to this report.


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