Strickland chooses another anti-gun running mate

By Chad D. Baus

For the many pro-gun voters who were lured away from the Ohio GOP in 2006 after years of frustration with anti-gun Republicans like Bob Taft, George Voinovich and Mike DeWine, pro-gun Democrat Ted Strickland's choice of another anti-gun running mate is sure to be met with displeasure.

Immediately following the announcement of Strickland's decision on Tuesday, Yvette McGee Brown, a former Franklin County juvenile court judge, made it clear to reporters that she does not agree with Governor Strickland's stance on the Second Amendment.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Strickland selected McGee Brown despite their differences on gun control. Staunchly supportive of gun rights, Strickland has enjoyed strong support from the National Rifle Association. McGee Brown, who sees victims of gun violence at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said: "The governor and I do not agree completely on his stand on guns."

For his part, the governor is quoted as saying he would "never expect a running mate to agree with me on every issue." But with polls showing an upswing toward Republicans, and considering the seismic shift that just occurred in Massachusetts with Republican Scott Brown's takeover of the seat long-held by the late anti-gun Senator Ted Kennedy, one has to wonder about Strickland's decision to put an anti-gun social worker on the ballot for an office that is just a heartbeat away from the Governor's office.

The move is likely to be even more disappointing to gun owners familiar with two of the other choices Strickland had reportedly been considering to replace his previous Lieutentant Governor, former Handgun Control Inc. board member Lee Fisher. Among the names mentioned as having been on Strickland's short list were 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).

Whether Governor Strickland passed over his pro-gun options, or whether they simply weren't interested, is a matter of speculation. For his part, the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party suggests the latter.

"I wonder how [McGee Brown] feels knowing she's the governor's eighth choice because everyone else said no," said Chairman Kevin DeWine via a prepared statement. "He's had nearly a year to make this selection, and the best he could come up with in the face of an unprecedented fiscal emergency is a social worker with no experience in public finance or state government."

As a pro-gun Democrat, Strickland has always been forced to walk what some view as a hypocritical path on guns. Whether it be his choice of two anti-gun running mates, or his fateful decision to go goose hunting with failed Presidential candidate John ("Can I get me a huntin' license here?") Kerry in 2004, Strickland's party affiliation gives him many an anti-gun bedfellow.

In 2006, Strickland's choice of the anti-gun Fisher, who lost a bid for Attorney General in 1994 after saying "I never met a gun control bill I didn't like," caused alot of concern among pro-gun voters. Fortunately for Mr. Strickland, however, losses among wary pro-gun voters weren't enough to overcome a wave of disappointment with more than a decade and a half of Republican rule in the Buckeye State.

But in 2010, the political winds have shifted considerably. If early polling and recent elections in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts are to be believed, Strickland may not be able to cede the number of votes his latest anti-gun running mate will cost him.

For his part, presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee John Kasich has named current State Auditor Mary Taylor as his running mate. Taylor has been endorsed by the Buckeye Firearms Association multiple times in the past. Kasich's choice may have given gun voters who still remember his vote for the 1994 Clinton Gun Ban reason to believe his repeated assurances that he has since learned "that guns are not the problem – it's the bad people who abuse guns."

Around the Buckeye state, gun control is a sure loser in statewide elections. Gun owners are among the most consistent voting blocs, and the most involved grassroots activists.

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

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