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.