Monday, April 13, 2015

Legislation Introduced to Move Ohio Presidential Primary Back a Week to March 15

Ohio Representative Mike Dovilla (R-7th, Berea) on Monday, April 13 introduced legislation to move back the presidential primary in the Buckeye state. HB 153 would shift the Ohio presidential primary from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in March. For 2016, that would mean the difference between a March 8 primary under the current law and a March 15 contest if the law is altered.

This represents a small but potentially significant shift. That one week change means moving out of the proportionality window to a date that allows Ohio Republicans to allocate their national convention delegates in a more winner-take-all fashion. Early reporting on the bill indicates that this is the motivation behind the bill. Yet, FHQ would urge caution on that particular conclusion. That is not a function of the reporting being wrong. Rather, FHQ would point out that Ohio Republicans have typically utilized a winner-take-all by congressional district method of allocation in the past. 2012 was something of an exception when to comply with RNC rules, Ohio Republicans made the small sliver of statewide, at-large delegates proportional while the congressional district delegates were doled out to the winner of each congressional district. The "16 mini-contests" that Darrell Rowland at the Columbus Dispatch mentions (and implies were unique in 2012) have not been an uncommon feature of Ohio Republican delegate allocation. According to the Green Papers, Ohio has been winner-take-all by congressional district since at least 2000. 2012 was the only slight blip in that series of cycles.

But to be even winner-take-all by congressional district as has historically been the case in the Buckeye state, Ohio Republicans will have to have a later presidential primary.

...but just a week later to be compliant.

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