Ohio Democratic State Rep. Jack Cera (D-96) has introduced a bill that would permanently delay the Ohio presidential primary by two months, a move that could have major implications for Ohio.
House Bill 101 (HB 101) would officially move the Ohio primary from March to “the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May.” Currently, Ohio’s early March primary has made it one of a handful of seminal states in several recent presidential primaries. The state has already lost a significant amount of presidential election “clout” with its number of electoral votes dropping to a historical low of 16.
The move would also have a significant effect on state revenues just as the amount of money spent on electoral races continues to climb at shocking rates. By delaying the primary, the value of airtime in the state is also delayed. In addition, it could be the death knell of one prominent Ohioan’s presidential aspirations.
Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown had long maintained that his resonance in Ohio is one of his key political advantages, should he decide to run in 2020. The Ohio senator was one of the only Democrats to win re-election in the 2018 midterm. Most surprising, he did so by close to seven percentage points.
With the Ohio primary in March, a win in Ohio would give Brown’s campaign significant political clout that would enable him to move to the front of the primary patch in a primary that could have as many as 40 candidates. However, if it is pushed back to May, he would lose an early advantage and would risk being squeezed out of the primary. By the time the primary is held, he could already be out of the race. Ironically, a strong example of this is President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. His early political victories were strong enough to nullify any advantage his primary challengers carried in their home states.
One possibility as to why Cera introduced the legislation would be to ensure that the state can be redistricted before the primary, which would be a way to guarantee it’s redistricted by the November election. However, when Cera was asked why he introduced the legislation, he replied:
“It’s my last term, so I figured I’d stir up as much sh– as I can.”
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jack Cera” by Jack Cera. Background Photo “Ohio Capitol Floor” by Joshua Rothaas. CC BY 2.0.