Ohio GOP chair Kevin DeWine attempts to clear path for anti-gun cousin Mike's return to power
- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
By Chad D. Baus
On November 25, 2009 I wrote an article entitled "Ohio Attorney General race highlights fight for heart & soul of state Republican party." Today, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine is offering AG candidate Dave Yost a chance to sell his soul to the devil.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Kevin DeWine has asked conservative, pro-gun Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost to suspend his campaign for attorney general, and run instead for state auditor, setting up a primary battle with conservative, pro-gun state Rep. Seth Morgan. If Yost takes the bait (his campaign says he is "strongly considering" it), this will clear the field for the chairman's liberal, anti-gun cousin Mike DeWine to win the party nomination for attorney general.
To date, no less than five Republican county central committees have endorsed Yost's campaign for attorney general (none have endorsed his opponent), as have 70% of the state's Republican county prosecutors. In doing so, they have made a strong statement against Mike DeWine's attempt at a return to power, and a strong statement in support for Dave Yost's campaign for attorney general.
Amongst Ohio gun voters, the name Mike DeWine is mud. DeWine 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."
Judging by a recent email from his campaign, in which he laughably attempts revisionist history by claiming "strong support for our 2nd Amendment rights", DeWine is quite aware of his status among gun owners as a pariah.
(To counter this lie, Buckeye Firearms Association has created a fact sheet, and is encouraging volunteers to circulate it far and wide. Download the fact sheet NOW!)
Last November, I wrote that 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. The state central committee has, to date, done the right thing and refused to make an endorsement in the primary contest.
Chairman DeWine, on the other hand, is now openly working to hand his anti-gun cousin the keys to the nomination.
In 2006, the Ohio Republican Party employed a similar strategy of supporting candidates with state-wide name recognition (and anti-gun records) over pro-gun candidates that were less well-known.
The state party, under the control of then-Chairman Bob Bennett, backed anti-gun Jeanette Bradley over pro-gun Sandy O'Brien for Treasurer, and anti-gun candidate Betty Montgomery over pro-gun candidate Tim Grendell for Attorney General.
Believing that "O'Brien can't win" in November, party leaders sunk the party's resources into Bradley. Despite having earned statewide name recognition while serving as Lt. Governor in the Taft administration, and despite her opponent having almost no resources (in comparison to the Ohio Republican Party-backed candidate), pro-gun Sandy O'Brien defeated anti-gun Jeanette Bradley in the primary.
Betty Montgomery, meanwhile, who once infamously told Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine she would "never be the candidate of the NRA", won her primary, but was defeated in November - by a far lesser known and less well-funded (but pro-gun!) Democrat.
Tragically, it appears Kevin DeWine is determined to see history repeat itself, just one state-wide election cycle later, in the race for attorney general.
The only question now is whether or not Dave Yost is for sale.
Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.