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 BrownOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls Lawmakers grapple with the future of America's workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate 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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure 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 HarrisThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection California Democrats face crisis of credibility after lawsuits Feehery: A whole new season of 'Game of Thrones' 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.