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Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland this morning picked up a major endorsement from the National Rifle Association in his bid for re-election in November. His Republican challenger John Kasich had also sought the backing of the influential gun rights group.

Strickland, a Democrat, accepted the NRA endorsement at a sportsmen’s shop in Proctorville in Southern Ohio along the West Virginia border. He has long had a good relationship with the NRA dating back to his days in Congress and earned its endorsement in 2006 when he first ran for governor.

Strickland recently said that he supports a bill making its way through the Ohio legislature that would allow for concealed-carrying of firearms in alcohol-serving establishments such as restaurants and bars. The bill happens to be one of several priorities of the national gun rights group.

“Gov. Strickland is a steadfast supporter of gun owners and hunters. Whether as congressman or as governor, he has not been afraid to stand up for the Second Amendment even when under pressure from national elites,” NRA Political Victory Fund Chairman Chris Cox said in a press release.

“That is why NRA Political Victory Fund is pleased to endorse Gov. Strickland for reelection,” said Cox. “We will be urging every gun owner and hunter in Ohio to vote Ted Strickland for governor on November 2nd.”

The Strickland campaign noted that when Strickland and Kasich were in Congress together during the 1990s their voting records on gun legislation differed. For example, in 1994 Strickland voted against Democratic President Bill Clinton’s crime bill because it included a ban on assault-weapons. Kasich voted for the bill and the ban.