Coattails reversed? Make sure you vote!
Most people are familiar with the term “riding someone's coattails.” One dictionary describes it this way:
To use your connection with someone successful to achieve success yourself.
e.g. "I don't think she would get promoted without riding her boss's coattails." or "My opponent is riding the coattails of the popular governor of Massachusetts."
In a Presidential election year, those in the same party as the winning president can expect a few close races because people voting for the President are likely to vote for the same party down ticket. In the absence of a Presidential race, a Governor being the top ticket can have a similar effect.
But can it work in reverse?
This year in Ohio, Governor John Kasich (R) is expected to win by a huge margin. Democrats have given up on his opponent, Cuyahoga County's Ed Fitzgerald, and are spending all their money on down-ticket races. Kasich is so far ahead, he probably could not lose this race if he tried.
So will down-ticket races have the traditional benefit from a strong gubernatorial candidate, or could Kasich's huge lead backfire?
Many pro-gun rights people we talk to are voicing valid concerns about low voter turnout. If your candidate is going to win by double-digit margins, and there is no U.S. Senate race, you may find yourself asking, "why bother voting?"
Because the down-ticket races are critical!
The entire Ohio House, half the Ohio Senate and a host of local judges and county races are on the ballot for Ohio voters this year. The offices of Auditor, Treasurer, Secretary of State and Attorney General are all in play, and they matter.
In addition, Ohio Supreme Court Justices Sharon Kennedy and Judi French are up for election. Two years ago, we lost a pro-gun justice. With the looming court battles and Governor Kasich's expected run-away victory, these Supreme Court races are at the top of anti-gun groups' wish list for races they can steal. Ohio's Supreme Court Justices are elected to six year terms. So if an anti-gun rights candidate wins next month, we are stuck with that person for at least six years, long enough to issue multiple damaging rulings. These are critical races for all Ohio gun owners.
Many pro-gun rights voters might think they can stay home because they know Governor Kasich will win, but to do so could have the result of handing some of these other important races to anti-self-defense candidates who are looking to upset a few races due to the laziness of the electorate. In 2012, Republicans stayed home in large numbers, and President Obama was re-elected. So who is to blame that Obamacare was allowed to take effect? The president or those apathetic Republicans?
Every year there are multiple elections decided by less than 1% of the vote, often by very small number of total votes cast. Will those tight races go to a pro-Second Amendment or an anti-freedom candidate? It is up to gun owners - many of whom didn’t vote in 2012.
All gun owners and those who respect personal freedom must get to the polls this November to support all the other candidates on the ballot.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association President, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."