Will Bob Taft help Democrats win this November?

By Chad D. Baus

With polls showing Ken Blackwell holding anywhere from a 12 to 21 percentage-point lead over Attorney General Jim Petro in the Republican Party primary one week from election day, the Petro campaign has embarked on a Statewide Bus Tour as a get-out-the-vote effort.

Although primary ballots won't be cast until Tuesday, political pundits this weekend were already turning their attention to November, suggesting that poll results showing a contest between Ken Blackwell and Ted Strickland is the Democrats' best hope of taking the governor's office.

No matter which Republican wins on Tuesday, the simple fact is this: Bob Taft has done severe damage to his Party's hopes for continuing to maintain power in Ohio, and party leaders who backed him can't say they weren't warned.

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Thanks to Bob Taft (and George Voinovich before him), pro-gun Ohioans know they must demand more from their candidates than empty promises on the campaign trail.

Several important pieces of pro-gun legislation are currently under consideration in the House and Senate. Bob Taft has already threatened to veto two of them. One would protect the privacy of persons who obtain concealed handgun licenses from the anti-gun media (HB9), and another would remove the ridiculous "plain sight" provision from rules dictating how CHL-holders may carry a firearm in a motor vehicle (HB347).

Eight long years of repeated Taft veto-threats against common sense pro-self-defense, pro-woman, pro-family gun rights legislation have left gun owners in Ohio open to considering a Democrat. Even were an anti-gun Democrat serving as governor instead of Taft, many theorize, Republicans in the legislature would be much more willing to override a veto from a Democrat than from "one of their own".

But such speculation is not even necessary when it comes to Democrat Ted Strickland, who has earned an A-rating from the NRA while serving as a United States Congressman, and who has earned the endorsement of both the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association in his party's primary on Tuesday.

With Chris Redfern, a proven pro-gun leader and previous endorsee of this political action committee, at the head of the Ohio Democratic Party, and with (in all likelihood) pro-gun Democrat Ted Strickland as candidate for Governor this November, it is time for the OhioGOP to finally realize that people who Vote Freedom First must no longer be taken for granted. Republican leaders in the General Assembly should work quickly in the months before November to send the following bills to the Governor's office:

  • House Bill 9 (or another bill amended to protect CHL-holders' privacy)
  • House Bill 347 (removes "plain sight" and establishes statewide preemption over local gun control laws)
  • House Bill 460 (allows schools to offer a course in firearm safety and marksmanship)
  • House Bill 508 (criminalizes the confiscation of legally owned firearms by law enforcement during a state of emergency)
  • House Bill 541 (allows people to use any force necessary, including deadly, for self-protection purposes)

    Should Governor Taft threaten again to veto any one of these bills in his traditional method of influencing the legislative debate, members of the Republican caucus, realizing that their continued willingness to side with a man whose approval numbers recently hovered in the single digits is likely to mean a significant change in leadership come November, should quickly express readiness to override such a veto.

    It is time for the OhioGOP to make good on promises to aggressively protect and defend the Second Amendment. In some ways, thanks to "Republicans" like Bob Taft, it is far past time.

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