AP: Candidates push for sportsmen's votes

On Saturday, September 16, representatives for Buckeye Firearms Association attended the annual U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance banquet. Many candidates and elected officials were on hand, including U.S. Representative candidate for the 18th district Joy Padgett; U.S. Representative candidate of the 6th District Charlie Wilson; Ohio Attorney General candidate Marc Dann; Ohio Treasurer candidate Richard Cordray; Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green; Rep. Ken Carano, D-Austintown; Rep. John Boccieri, D-New Middletown; and Rep. George Distel, D-Conneaut also spoke one-on-one with sportsmen. All candidates for state and federal elected office were invited to the rally.

The Associated Press' coverage of this event focuses on the two main speakers - gubernatorial hopefuls Ken Blackwell and Ted Strickland.

    Anglers, hunters and other outdoor sportsmen are a prime target for votes in this year's campaign for governor, with each major candidate saying Saturday that they would do their best to keep the state friendly toward them.

    Republican Ken Blackwell and Democrat Ted Strickland were the featured speakers at the annual U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance banquet Saturday night. The private banquet was closed to media who do not specialize in outdoors coverage.

    Both candidates said they would nurture private-public partnerships to preserve hunting and fishing areas and support efforts to bolster the state's outdoor sports economy, which brings more than $2 billion and 22,000 jobs to the state each year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

    Blackwell and Strickland also both support a bill now in the Ohio Senate that would change Ohio's concealed weapons law. It would rescind local statutes on concealed weapons and allow permit-holders to carry hidden guns in their cars.

    Although they agree on the legislation, each was critical of the other's experience on the issue.

The story goes on to explain that Blackwell criticizes Strickland for having chosen an anti-gun running mate, and that Strickland criticizes Blackwell for not having a voting record to back up his verbal support for the Second Amendment.

Only members of the Outdoor Writers of
Ohio (not this AP writer or other political writers) were allowed into the press interviews with the candidates. Extensive coverage from the Buckeye Firearms Association volunteer and outdoor writer Larry Moore, who attended the event and interviewed both candidates (as well as others), is coming to this website soon.

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