Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ohio Presidential Primary Back to March? ...Again?

The presidential primary date -- and redrawn US congressional districts -- was (sort of) back before the Ohio state House today. Most of the furor will revolve around the tension between the Republican and Democratic caucuses in both Ohio chambers over the newly-drawn districts, but as is our custom, FHQ will focus on the implications of the proposed re-consolidation of the primaries in the Buckeye state.

HB 369 -- better summaries here and here -- would reverse the changes to the primary dates made in HB 319; moving the presidential and US House primaries from June 12 back to March 6 with the other primaries. If you are scoring at home Ohio has...

  1. ...moved the primaries from March to May (HB 194)
  2. ...returned them to March from May (HB 319)
  3. ...moved the presidential and US House primaries from March to June  (HB 318)
  4. ...proposed moving those two sets of primaries back to March (HB 369)

Got all that?

The new bill did not go much of anywhere in its short appearance on the floor today. The rules were suspended, and the bill is likely to be considered in committee next week -- the House is scheduled to hold committee hearings on Thursday, November 10. As far as attempting to game this decision out, assuming the committee -- to which HB 369 has not been referred as of yet -- is able to wrap up its consideration of the bill next week, the next opportunity the House has to pass the bill is on the next series of scheduled session days on November 15-16 and November 29. There is also December 6 session scheduled, but that comes just one day before the filing deadline -- one that would be reverted to if this bill passes -- for congressional and presidential candidates to file for a March 6 primary.

In other words, time is running out to cut a deal on redistricting that would allow Ohio lawmakers to eliminate the separate June primary for presidential and US House candidates.

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