Your Guide to Ohio's Presidential Primary

Ohio Primary is Tuesday, March 15

It is finally Ohio’s turn to vote for their party’s nominee. Poll hours are 6:30 am - 7:30 p.m.

The Republicans’ last stand

All hands are on deck to stop Trump’s warpath to the GOP nomination — even Marco Rubio’s campaign manager urged Ohio voters to vote for Gov. John Kasich, who is the only GOP contender that will put up a fight in the buckeye state.

Ohio is a rich prize: It’s a winner-take-all contest — meaning all 66 delegates go to the first-place winner, unlike most states that divide a portion of delegates amongst the candidates based on how many votes they received. 

Kasich is aggressively campaigning in his home state, hosting larger rallies and touring with former GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. If Kasich loses his own state to Trump, his campaign is finished. However, Trump has a strong national lead and Kasich would still be in fourth place even if he secured Ohio. Capturing the buckeye state is seemingly a moral victory.

Trump dominated in Kentucky’s coal country with blue-collar workers, which the real-estate mogul could potentially repeat in the Cleveland and Toledo area. However, Kasich’s foothold with Ohio Republicans and home field advantage can give him an organizational edge.

The GOP race will likely be called late — with recent polls showing Kasich and Trump in a deadlock, Tuesday is going to be a tight race.

All polls show Trump has a strong lead in other Tuesday states: Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. Currently there are no major polls for Missouri. There’s a total of 424 delegates up for grabs for the GOP with Tuesday’s states combined.

Rubio and Kasich trail behind Trump with 163 and 63 delegates, respectively. Going into Tuesday, Trump sits at 460 delegates. Due to his strong lead in other Tuesday states, Trump taking Ohio likely assures his nomination.

With the most recent polls showing Kasich with a slight lead in Ohio, Trump made multiple stops in the state over the weekend. The GOP frontrunner added a last minute stop in Youngstown, Ohio Monday, canceling an event in Florida, where he has a strong lead.

Ted Cruz visited Columbus Sunday in an effort to knock Kasich down a few points in the poll. The Texas senator has been positioning himself as the only one who can take Trump down. Cruz holds second place with 369 delegates to Trump’s 460.

Democratic race tightens in the Midwest

After a crushing defeat in the South, Bernie Sanders is aiming to gain traction in Tuesday’s line of industrial states, hoping his economic message of “disastrous” trade deals resonates in areas hit hard by manufacturing losses.

Sanders has been propelled by his upset victory in Michigan, where he toppled Hillary Clinton’s nearly 30-point lead, undoubtedly prolonging the battle for the Democratic nomination.

Going into states with a larger white voter base and with a lot of donation cash in the bank, Sanders can hold his ground against Clinton until the summer.

However, the Vermont senator didn’t put a dent in Clinton’s delegate advantage after her dominance in states like Alabama and Arkansas. Clinton leads with 1,231 delegates; Sanders has 576.

Clinton has consistently led in Ohio, however, the gap has closed dramatically. In September, a Quinnipiac poll found her ahead of Sanders by 21 points. Now she leads with 5-percent, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

With Ohio having similar demographics and trade issues as Michigan, it is possible Sanders can upset the political landscape again in the buckeye state. However, with some major schools such as The Ohio State University on spring break, it is possible that the college crowd largely being out on vacation can cripple Sanders.

About 30 Clinton supporters turned out to Sunday’s CNN Democratic Town Hall event at Ohio State, holding signs on campus in support of the former secretary of state. There was no turnout of Sanders supporters. Given he wins the younger vote with huge margins, spring break might be troubling for Sanders in Ohio and other states.

A look at the candidates:

Republicans

Donald Trump: The GOP frontrunner is seemingly unstoppable with channeling the country’s anger against Washington.

John Kasich: Ohio’s governor has struggled to stand out in this race. He hopes capturing his home state can give him an advantage in the GOP convention. 

Ted Cruz: The Texas senator has secured his spot in second place and is quickly catching up to Trump.

Marco Rubio: He was the Republican establishment’s pick and was the guy most thought would lead the party. However, with so few delegates under his belt and the likelihood that he will lose his home state of Florida, Rubio’s campaign is on life support.

Democrats

Hillary Clinton: She has been the consistent frontrunner, gathering superdelegates

and has her husband and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown campaign with her in Ohio.

Bernie Sanders: The Vermont senator will likely start performing better now that the election is going into whiter states. His ground game is strong with supporters marching through downtown Cincinnati a few weeks ago. Sanders appears to have virtually unlimited funding from supporters.

How do I figure out if I’m registered and where to vote?

You can go to the Hamilton County Board of Election site. You will be able to see if if you are registered and locate your polling station.


The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries.

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