Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ohio House Passes Legislation to Move Presidential Primary Back a Week

The Ohio state House passed HB 153 this afternoon, April 22. The bill would shift back by one week the date of the presidential primary in the Buckeye state from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in March. In 2016, that would mean a move from March 8 to March 15.

The proposed shift is not without significance. In fact, the intent of the legislation is to allow the Ohio Republican Party to conduct a presidential primary outside of the proportionality window the Republican National Committee has created on the 2016 primary calendar from March 1-14. A March 15 primary date would give Ohio Republicans the ability to allocate their national convention delegates in the presidential nomination process in a manner of its choosing. The March 8 date as currently called for in state law would require the party to allocate those delegates proportionate to the primary results (statewide and in the state's 16 congressional districts).

While House Republicans favored the change, Democrats in the lower chamber preferred an even later date -- May 3 -- that would have increased its total number of delegates in the Democratic presidential nomination process. As they did a day ago in committee, Democrats on the House floor offered an amendment to the bill to move the primary to May 3. But just as was the case a day ago, majority Republicans forced the tabling of that amendment and then moved to vote on the bill as originally introduced.

HB 153 passed on a 56-41 vote and now moves on to the state Senate for consideration.

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