Ohio GOP refuses to endorse anti-gun Attorney General candidate Mike DeWine

By Chad D. Baus

On June 16, 2009, I published an editorial entitled "Will the Ohio Republican Party cement their minority status by backing anti-gun Mike DeWine for Attorney General?" For now, at least, the answer appears to be leaning to "No."

The 66-member Ohio Republican State Central Committee officially endorsed four statewide candidates last Friday, but the news was perhaps more notable was who they did NOT endorse.

The committee endorsed John Kasich for Governor, Jon Husted for Secretary of State, Josh Mandel for Treasurer of State and Rob Portman for United States Senate. But the anti-gun candidate in the bunch - former Senator DeWine - got the committee's cold shoulder.

Though the party's decision to endorse almost six months before the (candidate) filing deadline did not come without some objections from candidates like Tom Ganley (challenging Portman for the U.S. Senate seat) and Sandy O'Brien (challenging Husted for Secretary of State), there seems to be little of any concern about the decision not to endorse Mike DeWine, who was thrown out of his U.S. Senate seat by voters in 2006, after running around sporting a Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) endorsement because "his record really wowed the group."

As the Senator from Ohio, DeWine was named among the Top 10 anti-gun U.S. Senators, noting that he was "consistently the only Republican to speak in favor of anti-2nd Amendment legislation on the Senate floor."

While the state committee's silence on DeWine is an encouraging sign, there is still time for the party to make a fatal decision, however. At the time the endorsements were announced, Jason Mauk, executive director of the state party, told the Columbus Dispatch "They may look at an endorsement in the attorney general race, but I would expect that to happen toward the end of the year, maybe December, if at all," Mauk said.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Even with party support, Mike DeWine is destined for the same fate Jeanette Bradley and Betty Montgomery suffered in 2006.

The most likely scenario is that he will lose in the primary, leaving the party and media "experts" to once again wonder how a little-known candidate like Delaware Co. Prosecutor Dave Yost beat a former U.S. Senator.

If DeWine somehow defeats Yost in the primary, he will find himself facing a pro-gun Democrat, incumbent Richard Cordray, come November.

Either way, DeWine will go back into the political dust bin with the last two well-known anti-gun Republican candidates.

If the state Republican party is at all serious about its desire to remake its image in the wake of severe losses in the last two election cycles, they will at the very least remain silent on this race. And if they really want to do what is best for Ohio, and for the party, then they should meet again at their earliest convenience to endorse Prosecutor Dave Yost.

Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

Related Stories:
Delaware Co. Prosecutor Dave Yost Announces Bid for Attorney General in 2010

Republicans' attempt to remake party must include focus on Second Amendment

Senator DeWine proud to be anti-gun

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