Tuesday, February 21, 2023

May Presidential Primary Bill Gets First Committee Hearing in Ohio House

The House version of an Ohio bill to move the Buckeye state presidential primary from March to May came before the Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday, February 21.

HB 21 sponsor, Rep. Daniel Troy (D-23rd, Willowick) introduced the measure and advocated for the date change before the panel, a committee on which three of the bill's co-sponsors sit. Troy did not break any new ground, leaning on the same arguments he has made publicly:
  • Candidates for all federal, state, and county offices will not have to be filing petitions for nomination to be on the November ballot, almost 11 months prior to that actual election in the preceding calendar year. 
  • Voter confusion will be minimized with a consistent date every spring (and assuredly better weather). 
  • With the redistricting process looming again, it provides more time to get all the ducks in a row before filing deadlines. 
  • It will shorten the election season and potentially allow more time for governing and less time for partisan politics.
  • And all of that went over well enough. It seemed. There were few tea leaves to read in this the bill's first hearing, but when the floor was opened for questions from the rest of the committee, only silence followed. Rep. Troy could only respond, "I guess that means it's a good bill."

    To which committee chair, Rep. Bob Peterson (R-91st, Fayette) responded, "Unless it's a bad bill."

    And that was it. Even with a bipartisan trio of co-sponsors on the 13 person committee, HB 21 likely faces an uphill climb among Republicans in control of enough of the levers of state governmental power to derail a move back on the presidential primary calendar ahead of a cycle in which the GOP will have a competitive nomination battle. 

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