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Republican Josh Mandel on Wednesday announced his bid for Senate in Ohio, setting up a possible rematch with Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown, 64, easily defeated Mandel, the state treasurer, in 2012, winning 50.7 percent to 44.7 percent. The Cleveland Democrat holds blue-collar appeal and could be tough to beat with Republican President-elect Trump in the White House.

The party that holds the presidency typically struggless in midterm elections. Still, a poll released by Republican firm WPA Research showed Mandel essentially tied with Brown at 40 percent. The survey, with margin of error of 4 percentage points, was conducted Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

Mandel, 39, moved to blunt Brown’s allure and capture the formula that worked for Trump in his victory over Hillary Clinton in Ohio last month by positioning himself as a conservative populist.

“As your treasurer, I’ve been fighting to make Ohio’s government more transparent and more accountable to the people. And now, it’s time to take the fight to Washington,” Mandel said in his campaign announcement video. “It’s time to transfer the power from the politicians to the people.”

Mandel was immediately endorsed by Sen. Marco Rubio. Mandel supported the Florida Republican over Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his party’s 2016 presidential primary.

Jeff Roe, the Republican strategist who managed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’ presidential campaign, confirmed to the Washington Examiner that he is Mandel’s general consultant for what is sure to be one of the most heavily targeted Senate races of the 2018 cycle. Republicans are targeting several Democratic-held seats.

Mandel could face a tough primary, and isn’t guaranteed he will get his rematch with Brown.

Rep. Pat Tiberi, who represents Kasich’s old House seat and is allied with the governor, is expected to run for Senate in 2018, tweeted Chrissie Thompson, the Columbus bureau chief for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Other candidates could also seek the GOP nomination.

Dems dig in over miners' healthcare, threaten to filibuster spending bill

Also from the Washington Examiner

Congress hoped to wrap up work this week and take a long holiday break, but Democratic frustration over a short-term extension to protect health care for retired coal miners is threatening to extend work into next week.

Democrats’ anger over the miners health care issue boiled over Wednesday with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., vowing to filibuster the short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, to keep the government up and running after Friday.

“I am against the CR because the miners got screwed,” Manchin told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “I’m against that CR. I want to shut ‘er down – this is ridiculous – we need an extension of the CR until people come to their senses.

12/07/16 4:40 PM

The Ohio Democratic Party didn’t waste any time in trying to undermine Mandel.

“Since Day One in the treasurer’s office Josh Mandel has always been more interested in furthering his own political career than doing his job,” spokesman Jake Strassberger said in a statement.

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If Trump directs the secretary of homeland security to build a wall, then work can begin.

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