OH-Sen: DeWine Flanked
Gun activists angry with Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and the state GOP are welcoming talk of Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) challenging the second-term senator next year.Scott Shields has more:
Frustration with DeWine hit a new high late last month when the senator was one of only two Republicans (Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island being the other) to oppose a bill shielding gun manufacturers from liability for damages resulting from the use of their products.
Now, a willingness to back Ryan does not mean that the NRA will support any Democratic candidate for any seat in Ohio. For example, likely Senate candidate Rep. Sherrod Brown isn't a favorite of the NRA, with a 2004 rating of 0%. And Ryan is a Democrat, but he's a pro-gun, anti-choice conservative Democrat. However, the NRA's negative comments about "the Tafts, the DeWines, the Voinoviches" suggest that they might be thinking of just sitting out upcoming races in the state, if not fully endorsing Democratic challengers.Personally, I'd like Brown to enter the race. Progressives would be very excited about that. Ryan would be a strong candidate as well, but he's not pro-choice, so I'd be hopeful, but not excited. The third choice, Paul Hackett, did well enough on 2nd Ammendment issues to get the NRA to give a very tepid endorsement of Jean Schmidt. If Hackett is DeWine's opponent, the NRA really might sit out. No way around it, DeWine is in trouble.
Many of you are obviously thinking back to the recent special election in OH-2, when the NRA ditched Paul Hackett, one of their own members, to endorse Jean Schmidt. But consider their comments when they did it. Their reasoning for the endorsement was that Schmidt had a record of voting for NRA-backed legislation and Hackett had no such record, for or against. In fact, the group's director of public affairs, Andrew Arulanandam, went out of his way to clarify that the endorsement "shouldn't be construed as casting aspersions on her opponent."
I'm not suggesting that any Democrats go out of their way to seek NRA support. But open hostility from the NRA and their politically active voting members is something that we can do without. And with Democratic prospects in Ohio looking pretty good, we're going to need as much help -- or at least as little opposition -- as we can get.