Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ohio House and Senate Pass Bill to Consolidate Primaries on Super Tuesday

The Ohio House this afternoon passed HB 369 (77-17), a bill initially introduced a month ago solidify the newly drawn/altered congressional districts as well as set the date of the state primary -- including the presidential primary -- for March 6. The Republican majority in the House, however, faced Democratic resistance to the those altered districts, and without the promise of a handful of Democratic votes to trigger an immediate "effective by" date, was forced to abandon the legislation in the hopes of a future compromise. That process was made even more complicated by the fact that the originally passed redistricting bill was the subject of a referendum petition drive to add it to the November 2012 ballot.

With that as a backdrop, a bill to set a consolidated primary date on May 22 was introduced a day ago. Yet, today a deal was struck between the Republican majority and minority party Democrats on a slightly altered map of redrawn congressional districts and to once again move a consolidated primary back to March 6.

For those tracking this at home the Ohio presidential primary moved from March 6 to May 8 to March 6 to June 12 and finally now back to March 6. That's four changes to the primary date since May:
  1. ...moved the primaries from March to May (HB 194)
  2. ...returned them to March from May (HB 319)
  3. ...moved the presidential and US House primaries from March to June  (HB 318)
  4. ...proposed moving those two sets of primaries back to March (HB 369)
  5. ...proposed consolidating those two sets of primaries on May 22 (HB 391)
  6. ...consolidated the primaries on March 6 (HB 369)
HB 369 was just passed by the Ohio Senate by a vote of 27-6 as well. The only thing separating the new districts and primary from taking effect is Governor John Kasich's (R) signature. The move shifts Ohio's 66 Republican delegates -- and yes, this changes the method of allocation ever so slightly -- from the next to last position on the primary calendar all the way back up to Super Tuesday. With or without the Texas primary March 6 will remain the date on the calendar with the most delegates at stake. With a handful of western caucuses, northeastern primaries and southern primaries, Ohio will be unique as a midwestern, Rust Belt primary and could be quite the battleground on that particular date.

To see more on the long and winding road that was the process of setting this primary date, scroll on through the Ohio history.

Update: HB 369 also shifted the filing deadline back to December 30. That will allow all remaining candidates the opportunity to file. Only Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich made the December 7 deadline.

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