Dem introduces bill to push back Ohio presidential primary

Dem introduces bill to push back Ohio presidential primary
© Stefani Reynolds

A lawmaker in Ohio has introduced a bill to push the Buckeye State's 2020 presidential primary from March to May, a move that could hinder a potential White House bid by Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (D-Ohio).

Ohio state Rep. Jack Cera (D) introduced the bill this week, arguing that changing the primary date would help alleviate financial pressure on local election officials.

However, moving the primary to later in the year could also limit any advantage Brown might see if he were to win the contest, which is expected to give any candidate momentum in a crowded primary field.


Ohio state law currently mandates that presidential primaries are held in March, while primaries for every other year are set for May.

“It’s my last term,” Cera told BuzzFeed News for a story Tuesday, “so I figured I’d stir up as much shit as I can.”

Brown has been mulling a presidential bid for months since he handily won reelection in November in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE won in 2016. He is currently on a tour swing through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, four crucial states that hold early primary contests.

Gaining momentum early in the primary process is crucial as the Democratic field has already burgeoned to double digits. Some candidates hail from delegate-rich states, such as California’s Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (D), who could see huge early gains from her home state’s March 3 primary. 

Falling too far behind early on in a contested nominating process could be the death knell for a presidential campaign, while racking up early delegates could boost a candidate’s appeal among voters and donors.

Sen. John Glenn was Ohio’s last top-tier Democrat to run for the presidential nomination in 1984. He failed to make waves in the Iowa and New Hampshire primary contests and dropped out after falling even further behind on Super Tuesday. Ohio’s primary was in May that year. 

Cera’s bill will be heard by the Republican-controlled state legislature. One top state Republican told BuzzFeed that the legislation was not one of the body’s top priorities.