Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown overcame more than $30 million in special interest attack ads by standing up for good-paying jobs, the auto industry, and fair trade. He called for curbing the excesses of Wall Street and championed legislation that would end taxpayer-funded giveaways to huge corporations that send American jobs overseas. In the face of the flood of superPAC money into Ohio, Brown stood up for the blue-collar voters of the Buckeye State and won.
His key decision during the campaign: To run as a full-throated populist, writing in an e-mail to supporters, “I’m fighting to end ‘too big to fail’ and put the reins on Wall Street banks. I want to end taxpayer-funded giveaways to huge corporations that ship American jobs overseas. I want to put an end to the torrent of special interest spending in our election process unleashed by Citizens United.”
Brown used his ads to stress that he voted for initiatives that kept jobs in Ohio and point out that Mandel opposed those bills. Also, in addition to stressing his support for protecting Medicare and Social Security, he emphasized his vote for the auto rescue package. In one of his television spots, he stands next to a Chevrolet Cruze and announces that he, like the Cruze, is from Ohio. He campaigned in support of a constitutional amendment that would undo the Citizens United ruling, which he said “brought the corruptive influence of corporate money down on our democracy .”
Brown convinced Ohio voters that his votes on jobs bills and his support for the auto rescue — which was popular with 64% of voters in Ohio, according to a Washington Post poll — were votes for Ohioans. And he was particularly aggressive in challenging falsehoods from his opponent Josh Mandel, calling him in one ad “the candidate of the big lie.”