John Kasich names former Buckeye Firearms Association endorsee Mary Taylor as running mate
By Chad D. Baus
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich utilized Twitter on Thursday to announce his choice of former multiple-time Buckeye Firearms Association endorsee and current State Auditor Mary Taylor as his running mate, confirming a leak reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday.
Taylor earned the endorsement of Buckeye Firearms Association in her successful 2006 campaign for Auditor of State, having overcome a serious trend against Republicans in Ohio.
Previously, she had served two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, where her pro-gun record - both in terms of votes and behind-the-scenes support - was impeccable.
Asked why Taylor, the only incumbent Republican in a statewide nonjudicial office, opted to be Kasich's running mate rather than seek re-election, [campaign spokesman Rob] Nichols told the Columbus Dispatch that "As auditor, all she can do is warn and recommend. As lieutenant governor, she can create policy."
The announcement leaves a vacuum on the Republican side of the ticket in the race for Auditor of State just less than four months before the primary, in a year where the race matters considerably more than most. That's because the auditor, along with the governor and secretary of state, sits on the State Apportionment Board. Whichever party wins two of those three seats on Nov. 2 will be empowered to apportion legislative districts in its favor for the next 10 years.
Media speculation over other announced statewide candidates - Josh Mandel (currently running as the only Republican for Treasurer of State) or Mike DeWine (currently running against Dave Yost in the GOP primary for Attorney General) in particular - moving to the auditor's race have been discounted by both candidates.
Gun owners continue to be somewhat tepid about the candidacy of Mr. Kasich, given his infamous 1994 move to cross party lines and vote for the centerpiece of Bill Clinton's gun control agenda - H.R. 3355 banning assault weapons. Last year, Kasich released a statement noting he has since learned "that guns are not the problem – it's the bad people who abuse guns."
In his response to news of Kasich's choice, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern told the Plain Dealer "she's John Kasich's Sarah Palin." Indeed, John McCain's choice of the staunchly pro-gun Alaska governor as his 2008 V.P. running mate brought a lot of gun voters "home" in 2008 - voters who had similar concerns about McCain's position on the Second Amendment as they now do Kasich's.
Whether John Kasich's decision to make Mary Taylor his choice as a running mate will help his standing among gun owners, however, remains to be seen. Recent history would suggest the choice of a running mate may have little to do with support for a gubernatorial candidate in Ohio.
In 2006 Democrat Ted Strickland earned a good deal of support from gun owners despite having named former Handgun Control Inc. board member Lee Fisher as his lieutenant governor. With Fisher now running for U.S. Senate, Strickland must name a new running mate as he launches his reelection bid.
Among those who reports have said are being considered by Strickland are two men with anti-gun records: Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams (member of Mayor Bloomberg's gun control front group Mayors Against Illegal Guns) and Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, a former Ohio Senator who led the fight against concealed carry reform, predicting that "it's going to lead to tragedies and accidents of all kinds."
Also among those who have reportedly been considered are two men with pro-gun records: State Rep. Matt Szollosi (D-49), a 2008 endorsee of Buckeye Firearms Association who currently serves as speaker pro tempore (second-ranking member of the House), and Rep. Jay Goyal (D-73), also a 2008 Firearms Association endorsee who currently serves in the House as majority whip (fifth-ranking member).
Around the Buckeye state, gun control is a sure loser in statewide elections. Gun owners are among the most consistent voting blocks, and the most active grassroots activists.
Chad Baus is the Vice Chairman of Buckeye Firearms Association, and a member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee.