What will a pro-gun Democrat do to the Ohio governor's race?

In recent years, the pickings for Ohio gun owners have been slim when it came to the governors' race. Whether it was George Voinovich or Bob Taft, the OhioGOP simply has not had much to offer people concerned with the protection of our self-defense rights. Choices among Democrat contenders were even worse.

The 2006 GOP primary promises, for once, to offer gun owners a choice on the matter - a choice between a staunch anti-concealed carry candidate in Betty Montgomery, and two pro-concealed carry candidates in Jim Petro and Ken Blackwell.

A recent announcement makes it increasingly likely that should Betty Montgomery somehow come out victorious in the GOP primary, gun owners will still have a choice come November.

The Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch is reporting that Democrat congressman Ted Strickland is planning to announce his candidacy for the Ohio governorship, joining two anti-gun candidates, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and former state attorney general Lee Fisher, in the primary contest.

The Republicans under former Gov. George Voinovich and Gov. Bob Taft have won four-straight gubernatorial races in Ohio. Some Democrats are looking to Strickland to change that.

From the story:

    The as-yet unannounced decision by Strickland has a number of local Democrats giddy.

    "We are ecstatic about that," McCown said. "He has been a phenomenal congressman. He has the qualities to make a fantastic governor."

    Robert "Reb" Beasley, an Ironton area resident, likes the idea of Strickland running for governor. "I’m in favor of it," he said.

    "Southern Ohio is left out of a lot of things. Good things could come to this area if he’s elected. I don’t know what his chances are, but I’d like to see it happen. The only downside is, I hate to see him leave Congress."

The story notes that, for once, Second Amendment and Right to Carry issues can be expected to play into the Democrat primary race, just as they are going to in the Republican primary. That's because Ted Strickland is known as a friend to gun owners.

    Strickland would be popular in Republican-dominated rural counties because his views are more conservative than Coleman’s, said Stephen Madru, chairman of the Ross County Democratic Party. On the issue of guns, Strickland has won several National Rifle Association endorsements while Coleman believes Ohio’s concealed weapons law has too few restrictions.

    "In southern Ohio and the rural areas, Ted would be more desirable," Madru said. "I think for sure Ted will have some crossover votes."

    Strickland was first elected to Congress in 1992, lost his seat in the Republican takeover of 1994, won it back in 1996 and has held it since. He moved from Lucasville in Scioto County to Lisbon in Columbiana County when his district was radically redrawn before the 2002 election.

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