Democrats dump pro-gun Secretary of State candidate in favor of anti-gunner

By Chad D. Baus

Last week, news that Ohio Republican Party Chair Kevin DeWine successfully maneuvered a pro-gun candidate out of his party's primary race for attorney general, thus giving his anti-gun cousin Mike an unopposed run, rocked pro-gun voters across the Buckeye State.

This week, apparently not wanting to be out-done, Democrats took their turn at shafting pro-gun voters in their party primary race for Secretary of State.

According to news reports, State Representative Jennifer Garrison (D-93), a former Buckeye Firearms Association-endorsee, has been essentially forced out of the Democrat primary by party leaders concerned about her stance on gun rights, among certain other issues. The move all but ensures that the anti-gun candidate, Franklin Co. Clerk of Courts Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, will be unopposed in the Democratic primary.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Ohio Democrats switched candidates for Ohio secretary of state over the weekend. State Rep. Jennifer Garrison is out and the clerk for the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, is in.

Garrison, a lawmaker from Marietta, was urged by Gov. Ted Strickland last year to seek the office. But since then Garrison's conservative stance on issues such as opposing abortion rights and supporting gun rights, has riled some within the Democratic base, especially labor groups. That forced party leadership to push her out of the race.

Despite Garrison having entered the race at Srickland's urging, the Columbus Dispatch reported last week that the Democrat Governor, who recently chose yet another anti-gun running mate in Yvette McGee Brown, had switched and announced his support for O'Shaughnessy - a move that may have been the straw that broke the camel's back for the pro-gun Garrison campaign.

Unfortunately, Garrison's withdrawal also came with an announcement that the pro-gun majority in Columbus would be losing her vote - Garrison will not be seeking re-election to her seat in Ohio's 93rd House District, which she has held since 2004.

Although news stories covering Garrison's forced departure have mentioned her pro-gun stance as a reason for her demise, the reader is left to assume O'Shaughnessy's stance on the issues is different than Garrison's, as the news stories are silent on the issue.

But make no mistake - Maryellen O'Shaughnessy is anti-gun. In fact, O'Shaughnessy took part in a televised debate with Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson during the 2006 push for HB347, a statewide reciprocity and sweeping firearms law and concealed carry reform bill that became law after the legislature overrode then-Governor Bob Taft's veto...and O'Shaughnessy's preference.

As a Columbus city council member, O'Shaughnessy voted in favor of that city's now-defunct "assault" weapons ban (better known in pro-gun circles as the Mentel Ban, named after its primary sponsor Mike Mentel).

And on October 24, 2000, the Columbus Dispatch reported that "O'Shaughnessy...opposes allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons and supports mandatory trigger locks on all handguns, mandatory background checks for those purchasing firearms at gun shows and
tougher sentences for those committing crimes with guns."

The race for Secretary of State is gaining a higher degree of attention this year, due to the fact that whoever holds the office earns a seat on the State Apportionment Board, along with the governor and auditor of state. 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.

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

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