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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Ohio GOP could have more clout with later primary date

Next year's Ohio presidential primary may be pushed back a week to March 15, a move that could give the Ohio Republican delegation more clout at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.

State Representative Mike Dovilla of Berea, the House majority whip, introduced a bill Monday in the Ohio House to set March 15 as Ohio's presidential primary date. It is currently scheduled for March 8.Under the Republican National Committee's rules, states which hold their primaries before March 15 must distribute their delegates proportionally among the GOP presidential candidates.

If the primary is moved back a week, the Ohio GOP could have a winner-take-all presidential primary.

Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf says there are two reasons the state party supports the idea.

"We want a united delegation and so this would be an early date where you could accomplish that within the rules,'' Schrimpf said. "It would ensure that Ohio would send the strongest possible delegation to Cleveland next year."

Schrimpf says the bill would also make it easier for county boards of elections to schedule filing deadlines for candidates.

With the GOP controlling both the Ohio House and Senate, the bill's chances of passing are good.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told WVXU that he has asked legislative leaders to move quickly on the bill, so his office and the county boards of elections can have plenty of time to plan for the March election.

"We favor anything that gives us extra time to prepare for an election,'' Husted said.

It could be a crowded presidential primary field on the Republican side next March, or the field could be weeded out by the time Ohioans vote. Ohio governor John Kasich may be one of those GOP presidential contenders, but he has not announced his intentions.