Yesterday, the Buckeye Firearms Association announced that they were endorsing Jon Husted for Secretary of State and announced today an endorsement for Josh Mandel for State Treasurer. Amazingly, not a single conservative blog in Ohio, let alone a media outlet, has reported this yet.
Mandel’s campaign hasn’t even mentioned the endorsement on its website or Twitter, but Husted has it listed on his campaign website and Twitter.
In its endorsement, the Buckeye Firearms Association compared former House Speaker Husted’s quick vote (within three hours) to override then-Governor Bob Taft’s veto of bill that ultimately created the ability to obtain a carry concealed weapon (CCW) permit to O’Shaughnessy’s public defense of Columbus’ assault weapons ban around the same time that she supported (O’Shaughnessy debated the issue on ONN’s Capitol Square with the Buckeye Firearms Association’s Legislative Director.)
Their endorsement went to Mandel mostly due his support for Ohio’s Castle Doctrine law which was signed into law by Governor Strickland and because… of State Treasurer Kevin Boyce’s support of an assault weapons ban when he was on the Columbus City Council… with Maryellen O’Shaughnessy.
In other words, the precise reasons the Buckeye Firearms Association oppose John Kasich is the reason they oppose Boyce and O’Shaughnessy—they supported an assault weapons ban.
I’ll admit that I don’t know if David Pepper or Dave Yost have anything concrete on the issue because I haven’t had time to research it. But since I recall that BFA endorsed both Yost and Morgan in primary, I’d expect that they’ll endorse Yost over Pepper for the general election, but I’m completely unaware of anything that Yost has actually done to support gun rights.
I’ll predict that the Buckeye Firearm Association will make a big noise about their last two endorsements. They’ll endorse Rob Portman over Lee Fisher and then endorse Richard Cordray over Mike DeWine for Attorney General.
I mean, it’s not like the organization already had anti-DeWine posters drawn up already during the primaries.
What does that mean? It means that with the gun rights crowd, John Kasich is going to be in the same boat as Mike DeWine. When running a campaign banking on maximizing conservative turnout, that’s not exactly where the Kasich campaign wants to be.
My instinct is that there are far more single issue pro gun rights voters in Ohio than there are single-issue gun control voters. The GOP campaigns that will be endorsed by these groups, such as Portman’s, will not hesitate to tout them meaning the recent grumblings by stalwart Republicans over their endorsement of Strickland and criticisms of the groups for doing so will dissipate.
Because the nature of the offices don’t involve gun issues, I question whether these endorsement, though, will really affect many voters in the Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer’s race. I do think they are a factor in the Senate, Governor, and even AG’s race because it’s easier for a “gun voter” to connect the relevance of “gun policies” to the office in those instances.
After watching the internet forums of several Ohio gun rights groups since the Strickland endorsements, I can tell you that the Carpetblogger’s fantasy that these endorsements don’t matter to these voters is dispelled. While he is correct that the membership is not automatically falling behind Strickland, there is more of a debate as to whether to vote for Strickland or give a protest vote by voting for the Libertarian candidate than there is conversation of supporting Kasich over Strickland.
It’s pretty clear that John Kasich’s year-long effort to attempt to convince gun voters that his past support of anti-gun legislation was a “mistake” did not convince them he was telling the truth.