Incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat representing Ohio, is facing a strong challenge this year from Republican challenger Josh Mandel.
The race has turned into one of the most contentious in the nation.
- Mandel, 34, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq. He is a resident of Lyndhurst, Ohio, and is a former member of Lyndhurst City Council.
He was elected to his first term as Ohio treasurer in 2010, and previously represented the 17th District in the Ohio House.
Mandel is a graduate of The Ohio State University, and holds a law degree from Case Western Reserve University
He said high unemployment is the biggest problem facing the state.
"My jobs plan would make Ohio a world leader in manufacturing and energy development," he said. "Expanded energy development will mean jobs across Ohio. It will mean more tax revenue for our schools, roads, and to pay down the debt. It will lower gas prices. And it will lead to energy independence. And Ohio energy development will mean Ohio manufacturing jobs. Energy development requires manufacturing for tubes, pipes, and fittings. The average manufacturing worker makes $20,000 more than the average American.
"My jobs plan would create a fairer, flatter tax code ending loopholes for giant corporations. We must put an end to using middle class tax dollars to bail out Wall Street. We have a $16 trillion debt crisis - more than a trillion of it borrowed from China - that we need to get under control. As state treasurer I conducted a top-to-bottom review that cut over $2 million in state spending. Washington can do the same. My plan includes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution."
He said the country is at a serious crossroads, and many are concerned that America may not have another six years to wait before getting it back on track.
"Ohioans from all walks of life and political affiliations tell me daily of their concerns about how the out-of-control federal spending, massive national debt and federal government's antagonism to American businesses is putting Ohio families and job-creators at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. Stemming from this deep concern about the direction of our country, a number of Ohioans from across the political spectrum - Republicans, Democrats and Independents - asked me to run for Senate.
"As state treasurer, I have focused my time and energy on making our office the most efficient, fiscally responsible, well-run treasurer's office in the nation. The successes achieved in the treasurer's office combined with my strong record as a state legislator and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, have prepared me to serve Ohioans in the United States Senate."
- Brown, 59, is a resident of Avon, Ohio, who was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. He is completing his first six-year term in the U.S. Senate after serving in the U.S. House from 1993-97.
Brown also served two terms as Ohio Secretary of State and three terms in the Ohio House.
Brown received a bachelor's degree in Russian studies from Yale University in 1974. He is married to syndicated columnist Connie Schultz.
Brown said a return of manufacturing jobs is necessary for Ohio.
"In the last decade we have seen too many manufacturing jobs moving overseas, hurting Ohio's middle class. While we have begun to reverse this trend, in large part due to the auto rescue that I fought for, there is still work to be done," he said. "That's why I fought so hard for my bipartisan legislation that punishes China when they cheat with their currency manipulation. My bill was the largest jobs bill passed in 2011 in the U.S. Senate and should be taken up by the House as soon as possible."
Brown said every day he wakes up "thinking about what I can do to help grow Ohio's middle class."
"My bipartisan legislation to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation was the largest jobs bill to pass the Senate last year, and it wouldn't cost the American taxpayer a single dime. We must also continue to grow manufacturing in Ohio so that we don't see more good-paying jobs shipped overseas. "
He believes the coming years do look brighter for Ohio and America.
"While there is still much work to be done, if we continue to support Ohio manufacturers and Ohio's middle class, the future is promising," Brown said. "The auto industry, which was on the verge of total collapse, is back. Auto plants and auto suppliers all over Ohio are back at work. Ohio's unemployment rate was at more than 10 percent several years ago, but today is under 7.5 percent. And in the last two years, Ohio has added more than 80,000 jobs.
"That unemployment rate is still too high and we still have work to do, but we are moving in the right direction."