Sherrod Brown holds early lead in Ohio Senate race
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has a lead in very early election returns.
Brown faced an expensive challenge by Republican Josh Mandel, the state treasurer and a U.S. Marine veteran.
Outside groups spent more than $30 million in the state in efforts to defeat Brown, whose liberal record and surprise victory over then-incumbent Mike DeWine in 2006 made him a prime national target. Brown allies, primarily labor unions, spent about $4 million against Mandel.
With 7 percent of votes counted Tuesday, nearly 56 percent of voters were favoring the 59-year-old Brown over the 35-year-old Mandel.
Brown made the federal auto bailout and his support of the middle-class key campaign issues, while Mandel emphasized the need for change in Washington.