Brown: The Middle Class Won Today

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COLUMBUS -- Incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel to win the Ohio Senate race, Fox News projected.

"At the beginning of this speech I said the middle class won today," Brown told supporters during his victory speech.  "The middle class is not just the economic middle in this country.  Most of us think of ourselves as middle class.  It’s the values we share, it’s the principals we believe in, it’s the opportunities we create for our children, the hard work we do every day, it’s the businesses we build.”

"This race was about the resurgence in Ohio manufacturing," Brown continued as his voice began to give out. 

He took several swigs of water before stepping aside and handing his speech to his wife, Connie Schultz.

"I can't believe I'm reading somebody else's writing!" Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, joked.

The crowd laughed and cheered as she continued.  Brown smiled from her side and pointed at the crowd when appropriate.

During his campaign, Brown said he will stand up for Ohio seniors, fight for veterans and protect the state's agriculture.

He will keep his Senate seat for another 6 years. 

"We left it all on the field," said Josh Mandel after conceding defeat to Brown.

"I have great respect for Brown as a leader.  I would like to thank my best friend, my wife, Ilana, and my parents for being with me on this important night.  We're not giving up the fight and you haven't seen the last of me," added the marine who served two tours in Iraq.

An aggressive campaign did not pay off for State Treasurer Josh Mandel.   A combined $85 million was spent on this race for U.S. Senate, the largest in history.  The 35-year-old republican will head back to the Rhodes State Office Tower and his job as treasurer for the remaining two years.

Mandel promised to change Washington by standing up to special interest groups and holding lawmakers accountable for wasteful spending.  He also wanted to simplify the tax code and close loopholes so large corporations pay their fair share.

Mandel took heat during the campaign after opposing the auto bailout.  One in eight Ohio workers are tied to the auto industry.

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(Fox 8's Kevin Freeman contributed to this report.)