DOWN TO THE WIRE: After two years of focus on the economy, the final Ohio gubernatorial battle is being fought over gun rights

by Jim Irvine

After two years of excusing his practice of ignoring pro-gun voters by saying the election will be about the economy, John Kasich now finds himself in the final week of an election battle that is being waged on the very ground he forfeited earlier in the campaign.

Polls indicated Kasich had a double digit lead two months ago. But then Ted Strickland set out to inform voters about Kasich's sketchy history on guns. Since those ads started running, the polls have tightened considerably, with multiple reputable polls now showing the race in a statistical dead heat.

Now that Kasich finds himself needing votes, the gun owners he largely ignored throughout the campaign are suddenly important to him. It's a move that seems all too familiar to Bob Taft's promises in his first run for Governor.

It was pretty easy to see the Strickland playbook from a year out. Kasich's decision to keep his head down and mouth shut about this issue until so late in the game is a huge blunder. Ohio has issued over 200,000 concealed carry licenses, over 300,000 hunting licenses and there are many more people who just enjoy shooting.

At the behest of Kasich, State Representative Danny Bubp (R) filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission on Monday. The alleged problem is that Democratic Governor Strickland has continued to point out John Kasich's "F" grade from the NRA without stating that the grade was from old and not his current grade. In essence, they claim the "F" grade is dated and no longer in play.

From his press release, Bubp states, "It not only amounts to an illegal act, but I believe it's a slap in the face of the NRA and of gun owners." Bubp said. "It's time for Ted Strickland to be held accountable."

That is an interesting statement, and even though it comes from a friend who is endorsed and A+ rated by this PAC, it begs a closer look.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that Ted Strickland is in violation of the letter and spirit of the law, as Bubp and Kasich contend.

At the same time they are deciding to file a complaint, John Kasich and the Ohio Republican Party are placing this robo-call to as many Ohioans as they can.

The key words are, "John received an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association three times." Note that, just like the Strickland campaign piece, Kasich's ad fails to mention that is not his current grade. Nor does he give any indication on just when he received these "A" grades.

It turns out that all three of the "A" grades Kasich received were before he was an "F" rated candidate by the NRA. So if Strickland "deliberately and knowingly" lied by omitting the date, Kasich is certainly "deliberately and knowingly" lying on a far greater scale.

To paraphrase Bubp, "I believe it's a slap in the face of the NRA and of gun owners. It's time for John Kasich to be held accountable."

John Kasich was certainly an "A" rated candidate at one time. He earned that grade. Al Gore can make the exact same claim. Like Al Gore, Kasich then stabbed gun owners in the back by voting to deny and restrict the God-given rights that are codified in our Second Amendment.

Both Kasich and Gore deserved to forfeit their "A" grades as they certainly earned their "F" grades that followed. Kasich has apparently only recently realized what a political mistake that was, and is now scrambling to try to convince the people that they should ignore the more recent history and focus on issues that are far more dated. He talks a good story at election time, but has no concrete record to prove he has found his way back home.

Having a past history of support for gun control cost Al Gore the most important election of his life. There is little doubt that gun owners got it right. If gun owners look at the voting record of John Kasich before they enter the voting booth, the loss of a big election will be just one more thing the pair have in common.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

Related Story:
Compare Ted Strickland and John Kasich on Gun Rights

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