Friday, September 18, 2015

Ohio Republicans Choose Winner-Take-All Plan for 2016 Presidential Primary

A switch has been a possibility if not in the works in Ohio since March, but the Ohio Republican Party on Friday, September 18 voted overwhelmingly to adopt winner-take-all rules for its 2016 presidential primary.

Via Robert Higgs at the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
State Republican leadership on Friday formally designated the party's presidential primary next March as a winner-take-all event -- a move that could boost Gov. John Kasich's quest for the GOP presidential nomination.
FHQ will leave the Kasich angle for others, but the change over from a hybrid system of allocating national convention delegates to a truly winner-take-all plan for the March 15 presidential primary is significant.1 As FHQ described earlier this year, in 2012 those sorts of hybrid plans often ended up closer to a truly proportional allocation than a winner-take-all allocation despite having elements of both. Past is not necessarily prologue here, but a candidate would have to win by a large margin for such a hybrid plan to approximate a truly winner-take-all plan.

Any trade, then, to a winner-take-all plan, post-March 14 is of note. Ohio now joins Florida (and perhaps North Carolina) as true winner-take-all contests on March 15. Still the list of states in that category is only marginally different than it was four years ago. Ohio has switched. Nebraska is now winner-take-all. And North Carolina Republicans have signaled it, too, will trade out a proportional plan for a winner-take-all one. But the list is still pretty limited to that group and the handful of states that were winner-take-all in 2012.

Most of those states are clustered around the March 15-22 week.

1 The hybrid system Ohio Republicans utilized in 2012 proportionally allocated the small cache of at-large delegates based on the results of the March 6 presidential primary, but was winner-take-all at the congressional district level (i.e.: win the district, win three delegates).

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